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.

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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)

02 June 2011