11 June 2012

British Bombay

A rare photograph of Bombay Municipal Corp headquarters taken from Victoria Terminus station, Bombay

19 May 2012

Oldest-ever relics of Indian Rlys found in Mumbai?

By Rajendra Aklekar, Mumbai: Officials of the Central Railway, the country's oldest railway line, have found treasure in their junkyard. 
A team of Matunga workshop officials, while going through the junk at Currey Road yard, stumbled upon old Manglorean tiles which date back to 1853, making them the oldest rail relic ever of Indian Railways. The first train in India had run in 1853.
"We have also found a 1930s diesel-fired Morris fire engine and rail bogies of the old era. We have set up a small heritage gallery of all these items inside the Matunga workshop," Jogendra Yadvendu, deputy chief materials manager, carriage and repair workshop at Matunga, told DNA.
Manu Goel, executive director (heritage) railway board, in New Delhi said, "This is an interesting piece of news. We will surely check them out."
The oldest surviving relics on Indian Railways as of today include a steam locomotive called Fairy Queen dated 1855.
These tiles have inscriptions of Alvares and Company, Mangalore. The company was named after Simon Alvares who had bought it in 1878. The Manglorean tile industry dates back to that era and was first set up at Jeppo, Mangalore, in mid 1850. The raw material for the tiles, namely clay or feldspar, was abundantly available on the banks of Netravati river.
Companies back then were known to manufacture tiles with special features, during their preparation in gas-fired kilns and with salt glazes, that would make them last longer. Tiles were transported throughout India, British East Africa, Aden, Basra, Sumatra, Borneo and Australia.
The earliest buildings of the railways had tiled roofs, and Manglorean tiles were a common part of rail infrastructure back then. Recently, during the restoration of Mumbai CST, officials had found similar Manglorean clay tiles, dated as early as 1865 and manufactured by Basel Mission Tile Works with its stamp on them.
"The fire engine was to be scrapped, as were the other bogies, but we took them over and restored them. Another interesting feature on display is the signal lamps that were used in the olden times," Yadvendu said.

05 February 2012

Last train on DC power on Western Railway, Mumbai

Last DC power EMU train on Bombay's Western Rly

Spot the cake with candles saying 84. (DC locals were introduced in 1928--84 years ago)

The pantograph and the motor coach

The old signages and Jessop windows

The power horn 

The motor coach, once again

Bowing out of Churchgate station, for ever...

The ceremonial board

The model of an older rake at the exhibition on the occasion.

29 December 2011

Masts of Bombay's first electric being removed

Masts of the first electric railway in Bombay being dismantled and removed. The masts have original seals of the first railway company, a few of which have been saved at heritage gallery at Victoria Terminus. They are being upgraded for a period of almost 90 years. The railway power mode in the city is being upgraded from DC to AC for faster trains and saving power.

22 October 2011

British-era lever-frame signal cabin now history

Last few hand-operated lever frame railway signal cabins pulled down
Published: Saturday, Oct 22, 2011, 10:00 IST
By Rajendra Aklekar | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
One of the last few hand-operated lever frame railway signal cabins near Dadar railway station was pulled down last week.
Such cabins were inseparable part of the Bombay railways when tracks were changed to divert trains.
Called Dadar South Cabin, the structure belonging to the Bombay Baroda and Central India Railway (now called Western Railway) had also featured and documented in a number of railway heritage books and journals. The Dadar South Cabin was pulled down as it had become weak and could have posed danger to commuters in passing trains. “The Dadar South Cabin was crucial one as Dadar was one of the main interchange points between WR and CR," a retired official said.
The railways in Mumbai were the first ones in South East Asia and all the equipment used were brought by the sea route in steamers from London. “Early signaling in India was supplied from the UK. Many wayside stations were signaled in a style more associated with European practice,” John Hinson, railway signaling historian based in the UK said.
Sources said with technological advancements in signaling and power supply, old lever-frame signal boxes are fast vanishing from the railways in Mumbai. “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,'' an official said.
The signal boxes were modelled on the British Railway signaling systems and the one at Andheri and Elphinstone Road were based on the London, Midland & Scottish Railway in Britain, with the track layout painted in white on a black background and manufactured by the Railway Signal Company in the UK. A similar signal box originally manufactured by Westinghouse Company of UK was also found at Kurla till recently.