Celebrating History: The Case Of Railway Buildings

Waquar Habib

The Beginnings

An old Victorian train | Wikimedia Commons

As with many other colonies, railways in India began with the British colonial rule. The first railway line between Bombay and Thane (34 km) was laid down in 1853.

Bengal-Nagpur Railway Office | Wikimedia Commons

Ever since then, numerous office buildings and railways stations sprang up across the face of the Indian subcontinent. The architecture of these buildings and stations were characterised by the influences of Indo-Saracenic, Victorian and Mughal styles.

Kanpur Railway Station | Wikimedia Commons

The Kanpur Central is a unique example of Indo-Islamic architecture with only a tinge of British style. The station has now stood for 87 and continues to brandish its architectural prowess and utility.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus | Shutterstock

Built in 1888 and previously Victoria Terminus, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus of Mumbai is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is an outstanding example of Gothic Revival architecture with Indian traditional themes and has served as an attractive background in numerous films.

Old Delhi Railway Station | Wikimedia Commons

Built in the area of Chandni Chowk, the Old Delhi Station opened in 1864 when trains from Howrah, Calcutta started operating up till Delhi. The architecture of the station is dominated by the Indo-Saracenic style which reminds of administrative colonial buildings. Incidentally, it also resembles the nearby Red Fort.

The Howrah Junction | Wikimedia Commons

The Howrah Junction Railway Station was designed by British architect Halsey Ricardo. It opened to the public in 1905. The buildings is largely Indo-Saracenic with a unique addition of a variation of Romanesque towers.

Puducherry Railway Station | Wikimedia Commons

One of the oldest railway lines in India, the Puducherry Railway Station was built in the year 1879 during the time of imperial French and British rule in India. The building exudes a French Imperial aura with its imposing Greco-Roman columns present right at the facade of the building.

Cuttack Railway Station | Wikimedia Commons

The Cuttack Railway Station saw its addition to the railway lines in 1899. It is an extra-ordinary piece of architecture, unlike many other railway stations. The facade of the building resembles an medieval fort. The eccentric look of Cuttack station is derived from the Barabati Fort, built in the 14th century in the Kalinga of Odisha.

Charbagh Railway Station | Wikimedia Commons

The grand scale Charbagh Railway Station of Lucknow is famous as an architectural masterpiece. The station resembles an Indo-Saracenic palace and was designed by J. H. Horniman during the British rule of India. The building cost Rs. 70 lacs to be built, equivalent to Rs 14 crores in modern India.