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

16 comments:

Engr. B. Rajaram ;Inventor ACD/Skybus said...

Time flows. Railway remains the repository many an old memory.

Anonymous said...

the only solution would have been declare the first line as a heritage line, but it may not be practically possible now...

Shekhar Sidhaye said...

When I started film photography (around 1992) it was the first public structure I had photographed from Thane East side. Thankfully that time there were no security issues, hence no one stopped me taking pictures. It is sad that it won't be seen from any sides now.

Nayana Tadvalkar said...

the bridge should have been declared a heritage structure. I hope its not too late now...

Shree said...

It is Sad and painful to see such an important Monument go. However the terrain around does not allow a clear alternative.....so how Best can this Bridge be saved is a mute ?...

ISA

Jatin Das said...

It's too late now. It should have been thought while planning the new alignment. But with no other constraints to lay new tracks, conservation of an "heritage view" would seldom be thought in this country...

Govindkrishnan, freelance journalist and consultant said...

Likewise, here is another bridge over the Cauvery at Seringapatam (Srirangapatna) which had a meter-gauge tack and now carries a broad gauge line. A new structure is coming up alongside to hold a double line, and the old one would be abandoned:
-- posted on irfca

kailash korde, Reporter, loksatta said...

railway should preserve it by properly documenting the bridge...as it is 158 yr old historical pride of mumbai

Usha Rajaram said...

If it is too late to preserve it in that site why not shift the whole structure to another site close by which will not hinder the current project. At least we get to save it!!!!!!!!!!

Suresh Tripathi said...

It should be preserved as a first railway bridge heritage site in india.

Suresh Tripathi said...

It should be preserved as a first railway bridge heritage site in india.

Akshay said...

I agree with most of the comments in here. I sincerely request the Railways to declare the bridge as an important national heritage. How does one exactly get to take a picture of a train on the bridge from the eastern side of Thane station?

Arvind Gokhale said...

The Thane bridge was an engineering marvel from those days, like the sea-link in Bombay is now. It is a part of industrial heritage.

Arvind Kolhatkar said...

I think the common belief that this is the picture of the first train in India on the so-called Thane Creek Bridge is not based on facts. This picture is sourced to the collection of the British Library, where it is called as the 'Dapoorie Bridge' and the description below it says: 'A photograph of the Dapoori viaduct, near Bombay from the 'Vibart Collection of Views in South India' taken by an unknown photographer about 1855. View looking along the railway bridge built in 1854 to link Bombay Island with the mainland of Thane.'(See http://tinyurl.com/d4u3k8z).

'Near Bombay' is a vague description. To an Englishman living in distant England,'Dapoorie'(or current 'Dapodi' near Pune would equally well look like being 'near Bomabay'

If you compare the following two pictures,-luckily taken from the same angle and almost the same spot but separated by more than 150 years - the first of the alleged Thane Creek Bridge and the second of the bridge on River Mula on the outskirts of Pune near Dapodi, you will notice the remarkable similarities between the two.

http://tinyurl.com/bvu7kxt
http://tinyurl.com/7f5lwb5

The old picture has 14 arches on the near side, the new has 13, but one arch is clearly hidden outside the frame. There is break in the row of arches thereafter and then come 8 arches in both pictures. The guard wall of both bridges look identical as do details of the bridgework.

IRFC and India Railways too carry this wrong notion about the so-called 'First Train in India.'

The above has been discussed in the Marathi thread http://mr.upakram.org/node/3532. The thread is about a Marathi book, written by Krishnashaasti Bhatawadekar and printed in 1854 about the then new Railway in Bombay

Arvind Kolhatkar, Toronto, November 13, 2011.

Reggie Christian said...

While Arvind Kolhatkar brings up interesting similarities, if you look closely the two bridges are not the same.
The Dapodi bridge has two layers of stones in the arches with the lower layer being of a lighter stone, a lower arch layer cannot be added subsequently as arches need to be built from the top since the bottom narrower cut of the stones and gravity keep the arch together. If you notice there are square protrusions over each column in the Dapodi bridge and the parapet wall juts out lesser. The Thane bridge has stones with rougher cut faces. The Thane bridge today looks much like in the picture, the parapet wall end is unmistakable.

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