The headquarters of Central Railway, housed in the 129-year-old Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSTM) railway station building in Mumbai, will move out to make way for a rail museum. Nothing changes for the trains, though, which will continue to pull into, and out of, platforms at the iconic building that is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The building currently has around 400 employees who work in three departments of the Central Railway headquarters, including the General Manager’s office. All these offices will move to a new building on P D’Mello Road a few kilometers away, which will eventually house the headquarters.
As per plans, the project to construct the new building will be sanctioned in next year’s Budget. For the time being, the headquarters will move to a temporary space. Central Railway has already sought expressions of interest from owners of spaces of approximately 8,000 square meters to house the offices that will be shifted out of CSTM.
Every day, more than three million suburban commuters use the station that was earlier known as Victoria Terminus, later called CST and then changed to CSTM this year. The station, however, is still referred to by its old initials, “VT”.
The idea to turn CSTM into a “world-class rail museum” comes from Railways Minister Piyush Goyal, who wanted the building conserved appropriately as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
In a letter last week to Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani, Central Railways General Manager Devendra Sharma said that the relocation of an electric sub-station and a telephone exchange that operate out of the CSTM building would cost around Rs 41 crore. Since the making of a world-class rail museum requires specialised know-how, Sharma has requested Lohani that the Railway Board’s Heritage Directorate be tasked with seeming expressions of interest from specialists in this area. Sources said the ministry is considering roping in private players.
Designed by British architect Frederick William Stevens, the erstwhile Victoria Terminus building, bearing resemblance to London’s St Pancras railway station, was commissioned in 1888 after 10 years of construction, the longest for any station built during those days. It. It originally housed the headquarters of the Great Indian Peninsula Railway. It was called Bombay VT in its earlier avatar and was designated UNESCO World Heritage site in 2004.