15 August 2010

1857 plaque and gas lamps saved from scrap

1857 was the year when the Indian Mutiny was fought.. It was also the year when the Great Indian Peninsula Railway began the construction of a road over bridge over India's first railway line... The connect is deadly and the romance of the same old line and the bridge remained for more than 150 years.

In August 2009, the bridge was brought down. But managed to save some elements from the scrap torch to remain as memoirs for ever... It was a tough battle, but worth it. A year later, they are resting in the railway museum at Mumbai CST...
- Rajendra B. Aklekar.

25 March 2010

Old arched bridge under suburban station in city

A beautiful 22-arch stone bridge was found under Bhandup railway station by the writer on the country's oldest railway line between Mumbai and Thane during the construction of additional 5th and 6th railway line corridor. The bridge has now been buried under a newly-built drain. It has been extensively documented.

-Rajendra B. Aklekar, Mumbai

15 March 2010

An old plaque at Dadar station

An old plaque found at the busy Dadar railway station. Dadar lies on one of the oldest lines of Indian Railways. The readings on the plaque are not quite clear, but it is dated recently around 1960s and made in India. It is probably the date of re-modelling the station structure.

--Rajendra Aklekar, Mumbai

30 January 2010

Old rail lines can save city’s water supply pipes

OLD timers and city historians are blaming Mumbai’s municipal corporation for the frequent breaking of pipelines saying that the corporation had forgotten one of its fool-proof and traditional methods of regular maintenance started by the British.

Recalling that when the British begun laying the pipelines in the mid-1850s, they had also laid a network of narrow gauge rail tracks and a small rail vehicle parallel to the pipeline network for its regular maintenance and upkeep.

Today, the rail lines are either buried or pulled out and sold as scrap and the rail vehicles and locomotives languish at BMC’s pumping station at Ghatkopar in north-east Mumbai.

Mumbai’s water works is unique in more ways than one. It ranks among the largest water supply undertakings in the world and its sources are at a greater distance (about 110km) than those of many water systems. Mumbai was the first city in India to receive piped water supply in 1860.

Rajendra B.Aklekar

07 September 2009

Remains of the first electric railway...

G.I.P.R seals on OHE masts find a home

Bombay’s first railway was not only India’s first, but also the Asia’s first. The first railway electrification scheme in India was inaugurated in February 3, 1925 along the same lines, and consisted of the Harbour Branch of the Bombay suburban lines of the Great Indian Peninsula Railway (GIP Railway).

The first electric railway operated from Victoria Terminus to Kurla (16 km), using 1500V DC overhead traction. EMUs from Cammell Laird and Uerdingenwagonfabrik were used.

The OHE masts that were put up during the period are now being removed (2009) one after the other as the GIP Railway, now called the Central Railway moves ahead to switch over to an advanced AC traction.

The old OHE masts had seals with letters GIPR etched on them. The seals on one such scrapped poles were saved yesterday.

Rajendra B. Aklekar