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.