Union Ministry of Railways and UNESCO today entered into an agreement to upgrade Bandra railway station, a heritage structure, and develop it into a tourist destination.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and UNESCO representative to India, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka Shigeru Aoyagi signed the agreement in this regard during a programme held on the premises of Bandra station, which is listed as a grade-1 heritage building.
“Bandra railway station is the first national heritage building that would be upgraded with the help of UNESCO, after the Victoria Terminus (now Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus- CST), which was in the list of World Heritage buildings, upgraded by the UN body,” Manu Goel, Executive Director, Heritage, Railway Board.
“Now, a conservation plan would be developed to restore the heritage building, as well as a strategic plan to redesign the surrounding public spaces to improve traffic flow, signage, pedestrian paths, public amenities and cultural vibrancy,” added Goel.
While Aoyagi said, “After upgrading VT (CST), this station (Bandra) would be our second endeavour.”
The Bandra station building was built in 1888 and over a century, some changes had been made to customise it as per the needs of the day, like building temporary rooms.
In order to restore the original grand look of the station, a conservation consultant and expert was appointed and the restoration work was completed in 2009, with the approval of Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee.
Some of the restoration work carried out was structural repairs, restoration of board, steel and masonry components of the station building. Additions and alteration of the original building were largely demolished to restore the original look of the building.