CST designated as the world’s second most spectacular train station
A leading German data mining firm specialising in documenting global architecture and iconic buildings has voted the 126-year-old Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus as one of the most spectacular train stations in the world.
In its latest report titled Departures from the Norm – The World’s Most Spectacular Train Stations, Emporis states that the CST is one of the most “impressive stations dating from the early days of rail tourism, architectural masterpieces that have retained the flair of times past.”
Citing other stations, the report says one of the most outstanding new projects is the Gare de Liege-Guillemins in Belgium, its stunning impact created by a gigantic arched roof spanning the entire length of the station. The 312-million-euro station was designed by renowned architect Santiago Calatrava and connects Liege with major European cities such as Paris, London and Brussels.
Among the other historic station buildings, it notes the case of the Gare de Strasbourg, renovated in 2007, and London’s King’s Cross Railway Station. “At the King’s Cross Railway station, it is not just the fictitious Platform 9 ¾ from the Harry Potter stories that entrances travelers, but also the 20-meter-high steel roof that has stretched out in diamond and triangle shapes over the Victorian terminus since 2012.”
It took thousands of skilled labourers to construct the CST, bringing to life detailed pencil drawings of architect Frederick William Stevens. The drawings that are now safely locked in the archives, show not just the detail of the building as a whole, but also each and every pillar and gargoyle.
“It was a meticulous job undertaken by Stevens who designed it and his skilled Indian engineer Sitaram Khanderao Vaidya. The animals and creepers on the building came from the JJ School of Art that had just taken shape from Lockwood Kipling (father of Rudyard Kipling) and his team of students,” says documents in the Central Railway archives.
Only a few people know that Stevens also made pencil drawings of the furniture inside the building to match the architecture.
The Central Railway and the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation have now joined hands to develop themed lighting for the Gothic structure. “The illumination will be the first-of-its-kind for any monument in Mumbai. The lighting is such that it draws attention to the building’s intricate design and grandeur by illuminating each and every corner. The project will cost Rs 5.5 crore,” an official said.