From a 2,000-tonne heap of scrap to a garden and heritage gallery

From a 2,000-tonne heap of scrap to a garden and heritage gallery

Carriage Workshop in Matunga has transformed,thanks to efforts of employees.

The makeover of Carriage Workshop in Matunga could be deemed nothing less than epic. It is hard to imagine that two years ago,a 20-ft high heap of scrap weighing around 2,000 tonnes stood at the 200-sq m plot. Today,what stands in place of that heap is a verdant garden and a heritage gallery.

The Carriage Workshop was set up in 1915 for repairs on broad- and narrow-gauge coaches and wagons of the erstwhile Great Indian Peninsular (GIP) Railway. It covers a triangular piece of land measuring 85 acres,including a covered area of about 34 acres,flanked by the Central Railway (CR) suburban corridors on the east and the Western Railway corridors on the west.

The project,which started in 2011,was inspired by chief materials manager Jogendra Yadvendu,who has worked to preserve the heritage of Indian Railways. Employees at the workshop took upon themselves the task of turning the scrap yard into something more meaningful.

Their efforts paid off in more ways than one. While the workshop earned Rs 30 crore through sale of scrap,several artefacts and equipment of heritage value were discovered in the process. These now feature in the heritage gallery,with exhibits such as red and yellow diesel engines made in 1928,an Indian Railway Standard (IRS) bogie from 1940,a MAN Bogie from 1960,as well as vintage cast iron columns and Mangalore tiles from 1864.


Other top attractions include the conventional brass theodolites,manufactured by Mayo & Co,London. These were used for surveys and making maps. Many of the heritage artefacts have been sent to the gallery at General Manager’s building at CST.

Some of the exhibits have been contributed by Yadvendu. Among these is a diamond narrow gauge bogie,designed by Everard Calthrop of Barsi light railway fame. It was retrieved from the Kurudwadi workshop.

A row of white metal balls with red tops,which were used at substations in the 1950s for the conversion of AC to DC as well as to hang kerosene and signal lamps,adds to the beauty of the gallery. Another exhibit,a stand for keeping pipes,resembles a Christmas tree.

The scrap generated these days is now properly accounted for,with systematic storage,formation and disposal mechanisms in place. A two-bin scrap segregation system has also been implemented,said an officer.

The garden has 300 plants,all brought by employees. “Every employee brings two plants on Monday and thereafter tends to them,” said Yadvendu.

Beginning October 3,the workshop will represent Central Railway at the 10th International Rail Equipment exhibition at Pragati Maidan,New Delhi. Foreign confederations and industries including those from France and Germany will participate in the three-day exhibition. The workshop will showcase modern equipment used by CR,as well as those with a heritage value.