29 December 2011

Masts of Bombay's first electric being removed


Masts of the first electric railway in Bombay being dismantled and removed. The masts have original seals of the first railway company, a few of which have been saved at heritage gallery at Victoria Terminus. They are being upgraded for a period of almost 90 years. The railway power mode in the city is being upgraded from DC to AC for faster trains and saving power.

22 October 2011

British-era lever-frame signal cabin now history



Last few hand-operated lever frame railway signal cabins pulled down
Published: Saturday, Oct 22, 2011, 10:00 IST
By Rajendra Aklekar | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
One of the last few hand-operated lever frame railway signal cabins near Dadar railway station was pulled down last week.
Such cabins were inseparable part of the Bombay railways when tracks were changed to divert trains.
Called Dadar South Cabin, the structure belonging to the Bombay Baroda and Central India Railway (now called Western Railway) had also featured and documented in a number of railway heritage books and journals. The Dadar South Cabin was pulled down as it had become weak and could have posed danger to commuters in passing trains. “The Dadar South Cabin was crucial one as Dadar was one of the main interchange points between WR and CR," a retired official said.
The railways in Mumbai were the first ones in South East Asia and all the equipment used were brought by the sea route in steamers from London. “Early signaling in India was supplied from the UK. Many wayside stations were signaled in a style more associated with European practice,” John Hinson, railway signaling historian based in the UK said.
Sources said with technological advancements in signaling and power supply, old lever-frame signal boxes are fast vanishing from the railways in Mumbai. “Only a handful of lever-frame signal boxes remain along the running lines today, though a few functional ones continue to slog along some lesser-known sidings and railway yards. Hand-operated levers can still be found at yards like CST, Dadar, Kalyan, Bandra and also along the old stretches of the port trust line,'' an official said.
The signal boxes were modelled on the British Railway signaling systems and the one at Andheri and Elphinstone Road were based on the London, Midland & Scottish Railway in Britain, with the track layout painted in white on a black background and manufactured by the Railway Signal Company in the UK. A similar signal box originally manufactured by Westinghouse Company of UK was also found at Kurla till recently.


23 July 2011

Century-old rail footover bridge in Mumbai may be history


One of the city's oldest railway foot overbridges, built as far back as 1904 over the country's oldest line and recommended by the Heritage Society to be included in the civic heritage list, is being pulled down.

The 2.44 metre-wide stone structure, according to records, is the oldest existing bridge on the Central Railway between Mumbai and Kalyan. Railway officials said that the bridge was being upgraded and will not be demolished completely.

The demolition comes days after the country's oldest rail bridge at Thane is set to get flanked by structures on either side, hiding it from public view.

Made with chiselled stone blocks, the bridge has a number of antique features like gas lamp pillars, balustrades in decorative iron work and inscriptions stating that the iron pillars and girders had been imported from England and Scotland.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) Heritage Society had in its revised list recommended that Kurla station and this stone foot overbridge (FOB) be awarded heritage status.

The pedestrian FOB is situated between Kurla and Sion towards the eastern side of the station on Sarveshwar Mandir Road and was a first-of-its-kind construction in Mumbai with conservationists recommending it as a Grade-III structure. The bridge connects the old Kurla West area with Swadeshi Mills.

However, BMC's senior heritage conservation engineer Abhay J Sabnis said that the bridge falls under the jurisdiction of the railways. Railway officials said that the bridge was being upgraded and strengthened so that it can continue to be used in the future.

30 June 2011

Vanishing railway signal boxes

With technological advancements in signalling and traction, old lever-frame signal boxes are fast vanishing from the railways in Mumbai. These are vital railway heritage relics of Mumbai. Here are the remains of the old Dadar South Cabin.

(Below) A view of a lever-frame abandoned cabin at Dadar in Bombay

Only a handful of lever-frame signal boxes remain along the running lines today, though a few functional ones continue to slog along some lesser-known sidings and railway yards. Hand-operated levers can still be found at yards like CST, Dadar, Kalyan, Bandra and also along the old stretches of the port trust line.

20 June 2011

Curtains down on India's first railway bridge

Published: Monday, Jun 20, 2011, 0:46 IST
By Rajendra Aklekar | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

Yet another piece of national railway heritage on its way to history. The iconic stone and masonry Thane creek bridge, popular for the much-publicised photograph of the first train in India, is set to go out of public view forever.

As Central Railway prepares to lay new lines along the Thane creek bridge, the legendary bridge on which the first train ran will get covered on both sides with new structures, obliterating its view completely. “The foundation pillars for the new bridge are already in place and the girders are getting ready. The bridge will carry two new lines between Thane-Diva. It is important to connect the lines between Kurla-Thane to the lines between Kalyan-Diva so that there is seamless travel between Kurla to Kalyan ,” a senior official said. The lines are being laid along the slow corridor.

The 158-year-old Thane creek bridge has been historically linked to the opening of the first railway line in the country and the famous sepia-toned photograph of a 14-coach steam engine pulled train is quite popular.

There are six pairs of lines between Kalyan to Diva and between Thane to Kurla. The railways are now filling the gap between Diva to Thane under the World Bank-funded Mumbai Urban Transport Project.“Who would have thought in those days that the Thane creek bridge would one day carry six lines and ferry lakhs of passengers, becoming the most important rail link,” chief spokesperson Vidyadhar Malegaonkar said.

For comments about the structure Email on bombayrailway (at) gmail (dot) com

http://bombayrailway.blogspot.com

15 June 2011

Bombay's last surviving tram?


This is not exactly railways. But worth a mention here
.

A replica of the city’s last surviving tram is in ruins at the BEST Transport Museum. It is similar to the ones that ran on Mumbai’s roads. Tram services in Mumbai, then called Bombay, were terminated in 1964 after 90 years of existence. Tramways were proposed as early as 1864, but a contract for their construction was given to Stearns and Kitteredge only in 1873. They were to run the lines for 21 years after which electric trams were introduced. The first trams, between Parel and Colaba were drawn by teams of six to eight horses. When the tramways started in 1874, Stearnes and Kitteredge had a stable of 900 horses.

Electric trams were introduced in 1907 and ran till 1964.

The order for the first electric tram-car had been placed with the Brush Electrical Company of London. The vehicle arrived in Mumbai in January 1906. There used to be an Upper Class in the tram-cars; it was removed after some time. (27/09/09)