Bandra Sub-Urban Railway Station, the “Queen of Suburbs” of Mumbai Poised for a big Facelift  

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Indian Railways has initiated a comprehensive proposal in collaboration with The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to revamp Mumbai’s Bandra Sub-Urban Station with a view to not only transform this station into an efficient transportation hub but also to reinforce its status as a heritage landmark. This would be in line with Bandra precinct’s highly cultural and cosmopolitan character.

Under an agreement between Indian Railways and UNESCO, a comprehensive management plan is being prepared for Bandra Station which is hailed as “queen of suburbs” of Mumbai.  A century old railway station, Bandra is home to some of the oldest religious shrines, Portuguese Fort, film studios, East Indian Christian Settlements, Anglo-Indian bakeries and art galleries. This station epitomizes and exemplifies the heritage and has been recognized as a Grade-I heritage property with an excellent blend of Victorian Gothic and the Vernacular style of architecture.

UNESCO has now submitted their first report focusing on Urban Design strategy with an Action Plan for improvements in circulating area of Bandra sub-urban Railway Station to Minister for Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu. This report proposes to develop a high quality and culturally relevant public realm, a diverse and vibrant space as well as a community asset. Priority will be given to the pedestrians and universal access while creating an attractive and comfortable environment. The main features of the UNESCO’s recommendations include realigning approaches and relieving congestion, streamlining the movement at entry/exit of station for effective access and transfer and public realm enhancements to reinforce civic significance.  The report also contains a series of steps to improve disabled-accessibility.

The second and the final report by UNESCO for Bandra station focusing on conservation and management plan of the station building is expected next month. Western Railway (Headquarters Mumbai) has already chalked out the implementation plan.  The implementation of these reports will completely transform the experience of passengers and other visitors to this unique station and give a boost to preservation of rich heritage of Mumbai.

Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhu has been taking keen interest in the effort to redevelop Bandra Station to provide enhanced facilities to customers while reinforcing the grandeur and magnificence of this landmark station building. Acknowledging the enthusiasm of the Railways, UNESCO took merely 3 months to come out with the report since an agreement to prepare the reports was signed between Shri Manu Goel, Executive Director, Railway Board and Mr. Shigeru Aoyagi, Director, UNESCO, New Delhi on 26th June, 2015. Indian Railways is also the proud custodian of four world heritage sites – Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminal (formerly Victoria Terminus), Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, Nilgiri Mountain Railway and Kalka Shimla Railway