We are familiar with every station in Mumbai. However, do you know the city of Mumbai once had a Colaba Station? In South Bombay, the Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railway (BB&CI) had a railway station which was closed in 1930.
Mumbai Once Had A Colaba Railway Station
— Mumbai Heritage (@mumbaiheritage) February 19, 2022
In 1870 and 1873, the BB&CI terminal was extended to Churchgate and Colaba, respectively, at the southernmost points of the island. On November 28, 1864, the BB&CI line from Utran to Grant Road station was finally opened. At this point, a faint cheer was raised, but it was swiftly silenced. The train had thirty coaches, mostly in the second and third classes.
The BB&CI railway line extension from Dadar to Colaba has been under consideration for many years. A plan created in 1861 stated that the line would skirt Back Bay at a distance of between 100 and 200 feet from the beach and end at the enormous and historic Grant’s Buildings close to the Arthur Bunder basin in Colaba.
Plans were intentionally made to avoid crossing roads and encroaching on private land. In addition to suggesting a passenger station at Marine Lines, the government believed a freight station should be built to the north of this station. They had taken into account that Marine Lines was the point where the railway came the closest to the “native” town that had grown up in the surrounding suburbs of Girgaum, Kalbadevi, and Crawford Market.
The Government did, however, finally approve an extension of the line from Grant Road to Chowpatty and from there, following the Back Bay shore to Colaba. Colaba could offer enough room for the railway terminus, sidings and yard. Additionally, the terminus would meet the mobility needs of the soldiers stationed in the cantonment to the south.
It was the rising anchor inside the BB&CI line alignment, promising to elevate Bombay’s prime southern island to a significant location. Further, it became more and more clear that Colaba would need more public transit options. This happened because people moved there or commuted daily to the cotton market. Finally opening in 1873 was the BB&CI terminal station in Colaba.
The New Terminus Near Sassoon Dock
On April 7, 1896, the Colaba new railway terminus opened to traffic built close to Sassoon Dock. The new station had a stone façade and a carriage porch at its southern end, which the resident engineer had skillfully built. At the southwest corner was a tall tower with a pitched tiled roof. Additionally, there were offices, a public ticket counter, and waiting areas.
The main columns and a lot of other ironwork were made from old rails. It was a peculiar aspect of the station and platform buildings. To protect patrons from the monsoons, a brick side wall encircled the station on the Wodehouse Road side. Modern incandescent gas burner lights were installed in the station. And it helped the station to be well-lit. A useful and decorative addition to the building was an overbridge added at the northern end.
One of the most traumatic years for the people of Bombay was 1896, the year the Colaba station opened. Rapid communication between the home and the place of business in the island metropolis became a top goal. The BB&CI Railway was crucial in getting people to the new suburbs that were built along its route and the structure was torn down in 1930.
Currently, the location houses a residential complex, Badhwar Park. In fact, this complex contains numerous multi-story buildings that house residential apartments for senior railway officers.
Cover Image Courtesy: Mumbai Heritage/ X (Formerly, Twitter)
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