19 November 2019

Found & Lost-- Old bridge relics at Khar Road station

In 2019, on the birthday of Indian Railways that is April 16, while some heritage hunting at Khar Road station on Mumbai division of Western Railway, I had found these relics of the old Bombay Baroda and Central India Railway (BB&CI Railway)

As per records available, Khar station was set up around July 1924 when the Bombay Development Directorate was promoting suburbs in a big way to decongest the island city. The Khar scheme was to be sold to potential buyers and a railway station was a great selling point. After a delay of about a year, the station opened in the monsoon of 1924.

The finding that one sees in the adjacent photograph is that of a few remains of the old iron bridge that was originally in place. This platform is today used by harbour line trains. The bridge had to go as the station expanded to more platforms and the layout of the station changed. (Original Tweet)

On November 14, 2019, I found these relics gone for ever as they had made way for a new staircase. The adjacent photographs are of the same site.

Practically, it was not possible to save them in situ given the crowd at the station and the pressure to build new bridges to offer easy connectivity. The best thing was to document them going and so here are their final pictures.

The Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railway (BB&CI) was a company incorporated in 1855 to undertake the task of constructing a railway line between Bombay and Vadodara in India. BB&CI completed the work in 1864. -- (Pics & text Rajendra B. Aklekar, Mumbai.)

09 November 2019

Striking similarities! AH Wheeler stall - Howrah & Mumbai

Striking similarities!

East and West India. The AH Wheeler's railway book stall at Howrah (above) and Mumbai Central (below).

01 June 2019

New book!

FIRST LOOK! Announcing my third book with Rupa Publications The book weaves together anecdotes from 1830s to 2019, taking the reader on a thrilling ride of over two centuries on an 'express' time machine. Enjoy!!! Pre-orders here: https://www.amazon.in/dp/9353332877/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_bSe8CbA7B5WRB

26 April 2019

Slow death of original British design at rail stations on first line

The slow death of all the exquisite features of the original British design on India's first railway line. The new standard roof design does not have such finesse.

Wildlife sanctuary at World Heritage Site Railway station

Capturing the wildlife sanctuary in stone on the World Heritage site of Mumbai CSMT, formerly Bombay Victoria Terminus, India.

17 April 2019

Discoveries on Indian Railways' birthday

On the birthday of Indian Railways, some heritage hunting at the Khar railway station today led to stunning discoveries. Formerly Bombay, Baroda & Central India, now Western Railway.

31 January 2019

Restoration of India's WCG2 class Direct Current Locomotive at heritage gallery in Mumbai

FINALLY!!! One of India's last Direct Current locomotives -the WCG2 class - has now been saved at the heritage gallery at Mumbai CSMT by Central Railway Had been personally trying for this for quite some time time. 
My report in MiD DAY today. Click HERE 

By Rajendra B. Aklekar

One of the most versatile and common locomotives on the Ghat mountain ranges of Mumbai-Pune and Igatpuri inclines, one of the last of the Direct Current (DC) powered electric engines from the WCG-2 class, fondly called as Howlers for the noise they made, is back at Mumbai CSMT, this time as an exhibit on permanent display to the place where it started all. The other mixed class WCM-1 served till the end of the DC era.

The engine, formally withdrawn from service on 2010, arrived on a trailer truck by road all the way from Kalyan Electric Loco Shed on Wednesday. In its last days, it also hauled a few local trains in Mumbai during the motormen's  strike

"Used mostly to haul freights, do banking duties on the Bhor and Tull ghats (push climbing trains from behind) and rarely haul express trains, the once-common loco with its blue and cream livery with little red stripes was first manufactured in the 1970s," a Mumbai division official said.

Officials said they were the heaviest engines (132 tonne), and powerful ones when launched. 

They were manufactured at Chittaranjan Locomotive Works (CLW) and all the 57 that were built were assigned to Kalyan shed of Mumbai division of Central Railway.

"As of today all these Howler locomotives have been scrapped except one (20158) which had been originally earmarked for preservation at the National Rail Museum, New Delhi.But since Central Railway Mumbai now has its own gallery, the loco has been brought here in the heritage gallery," Central Railway chief public relations officer Sunil Udasi said

This is the second electric loco to arrive at the CSMT heritage gallery after India's first electric locomotive Sir Leslie Wilson was brought here, besides other steam engine from Barsi Light Railway and a few old wagons.