Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (Formerly known as Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus or Victoria Terminus)
For a long time, Mumbai has been a city of dreams where millions come and try their luck. Be it in Bollywood or somewhere else, the city of dreams has always had something to offer for those who were willing to try their luck. This iconic building has stood witness to those millions who have come to Mumbai from different parts of the country and made it their home, their stories of struggles and success.
The iconic Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT for short), formerly known as Victoria Terminus (VT) is the headquarters of the Central Railway. For us, the Mumbaikars, this is the last stop which our local train would carry us to. From here its either a bus or the taxi to either office or the numerous other places of leisure that one can visit.
The building sees almost 2 million footfalls every day. With approximately one train every 3 minutes leaving or entering the platforms, this station is one of the busiest. This station caters to both, the suburban and the outstation trains. There are 18 platforms out of which the first 7 cater to suburban traffic and the remaining for outstation ones. It’s an experience to watch the crowd pouring out of this station at any given moment of time. Having passed through this station for 8 years (as my office was in Colaba), I’ve never seen a moment when this station has been empty.
The Great Indian Peninsular Railway (GIPR – The predecessor of the Central Railways), was founded in Bombay in 1846 and built its terminal in the Bori Bunder in 1850. The Bori Bunder Station was a make shift wooden structure located behind today’s Dhobi Ghat.
The first passenger train ran between Bori Bunder in Bombay to Thane on 16th April 1853 marking the start of passenger transport. It took around 1 hours and 17 minutes to cover the distance of 32 kms.
Construction of Victoria Terminus began in 1878. The building was designed by Fredrick William Stevens at a cost of Rs 1,64,000. It took 10 years to complete and was officially open to public in 1878.
As mentioned before, this is the headquarters of the Central Railway and one of the busiest stations catering to both Suburban and the outstation trains. Both the Harbour Lines (Mumbai CSMT to Panvel) and the Main Lines (Mumbai CSMT to Karjat / Kasara) terminate here. The harbour line uses platforms 1 and 2. Main line trains ply from platforms 3 to 7. The outstation trains start from platform 8.
Unlike other stations, CSMT was named a world heritage structure by UNESCO in 2004. Its quite easy to miss out on the beauty of this station because of the rush but its worth a sight if one can manage to enter the station during non peak hours.