THE heritage gallery at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) is likely to be developed after Central Railway (CR) authorities confirm re-location of the the offices on the ground floor to allow expansion of the gallery. The expansion will involve adding more features and making it interactive for the visitors.
The gallery which has been at the ground floor of CST since 2010, consists of replicas of the original drawings of F W Stevens, the chief architect of the CST building, as well as photographs and documents from the archives about the growth of the railways and the city. The expansion will more than double the size of the space given to the gallery at present and will also open up an entry point from its side-end to the BEST bus depot which is in proximity to the station.
“After re-locating the present cash-office and some other offices in the CST building, we will have more space for the gallery. Not only will its facade get an uplift, but commuters will be at ease to switch from the depot to the gallery. Plans are already on and the process is likely to get over by the next 2-3 months,” said A K Srivastava, Additional General Manager, CR.
The expanded gallery will include a souvenir shop, a counter selling artefacts related to the CST building and the railways, a touchscreen to facilitate visitors to glance at the digitised history of the railways and a wall-mounted television showing videos about the architecture of the building.
“There is so much to know and learn about the railways which can be shared with our visitors through smartscreen technologies. Railway history like information about Great Indian Peninsula Railway (GIPR), popular culture, very old railway stations which ceased to exist, history behind the architecture of the building will be shared through the interactive medium,” added Srivastava.
The gallery is also likely to include a timeline of events of railways to be explained through maps and panels. Though the concept is at its planning stage, Srivastava confirmed having roped in expert consultants on museum designs to discuss ideas about the expansion of the gallery.
To make it bigger, CR is also planning to call for volunteers for the formation of a group called ‘Friends of CST’ by next week. With this, a team of heritage lovers and connoisseurs of railways will take the ‘gallery expansion’ idea forward either by writing blogs or planning its maintenance. Srivastava confirmed this would be a permanent forum where members would be able to share and contribute ideas on heritage and history of railways.
“The concept is basically to let people understand the heritage and the role of railways in making the city what it is. Instead of pointing fingers at the shortcomings of the institution, we are opening it up for people to make this World Heritage site a better place for commuters and eventually turn it into an academia,” Srivastava added.