Bombay Central Station BB&CIR
The first terminal station at Grant Road was opened in 1864, it was intended as a temporary station and lasted only six years.
The narrow strip of land on the Back Bay side of the island where the line ran along the edge of the sea and the track was frequently flooded by sea water during the monsoon period was obtained by the Government and given to BB&CIR in 1866 to enable them to lay a line to Churchgate and Colaba. This broad gauge(BG) BB&CIR 'Mainline' section opened on 18 Jan 1870. See page ‘Bombay Back Bay Reclamation Scheme‘.
‘Churchgate Station’ was established in 1870 . Just across the road is the ‘Bombay Churchgate BB&CIR Headquarters’ - see separate page
Accomodation there was limited and another station was opened in 1893 at Wodehouse Road on the corner with Kittridge Road. The station building was unpretentious and fitted only with bare necessities.
With the quadrupling of the line from between Borivli and Grant Road, the consequent increase in traffic showed that the track and facilities at Colaba were inadequate
Land had been purchased at Bellasis Road for the site of the new terminal station, but there was some argument as to whether this station should be built. It was suggested that the BB&CIR long-distance trains should run over the ‘Great Indian Peninsula Railway (GIPR) - Bombay Harbour Branch’ to the ‘ Victoria Terminus GIPR‘, leaving the local trains to terminate at Churchgate. This idea was dropped when GIPR stated they could not accommodate such traffic.
Hence the Central Station construction commenced in March 1929 and completed December 1930
Bombay Central Station
The building was designed by the British architect Claude Batley, and constructed by the Shapoorji Pallonji in 1930 in a record time of 21 months. The project cost was Rs.15.6 million . The architect chose an amalgam of Mugal, Persian and Contemporary architectural styles laying greater stress on the functional aspects of the structure and keeping the needs of the users in sharp focus. In keeping with Mugal and Persian styles, the entire building complex has been conceptually located within a large garden. It was indeed a novel experiment at that time. The prevailing concept was to locate the station building not only in the city centre, but as close to the access road as possible to reduce the entry and exit time of the passengers to the barest minimum. Conceptualizing the station building in the centre of a large rectangle and providing a garden along the entry gate, are the elements of architectural design which make Bombay Central a unique rail terminal, where the spatial separation between the city road and the terminal provides a perspective and also caters to future expansion needs. The station building was directly connected to Bellasia Bridge and the suburban local station by over bridges to facilitate entry/exit of pedestrians .
- ‘The Railway Magazine’ December 1951 pages 843-4 - ‘Bombay Central Station Comes of Age’ by H.C.Towers
- Wikipedia ‘Churchgate Railway Station’; Retrieved 5 Jan 2021
- Wikipedia ‘ Mumbai Central Railway Station; Retrieved 5 Jan 2021
- Acamedia.edu “Rail Architecture in India - “A National Heritage” by Govind Ballabh (Retd Chief Operations Manager Northern Railway), 2003 - Chapter 4, pages 18-19 ; Retrieved 5 Jan 2021