Railway stations have been a witness of the time gone by. Being monumental in scale, railways have evolved with the changing needs of the people. Introduced by the British colonial leaders, railways have proved to be a boon for the people of the Indian subcontinent.
Some of the best architectural marvels in railway architecture present in India are as follows:
1. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, formerly known as Victoria Terminus, is an exemplary example of Victorian Gothic revival architecture with traditional Indian architecture. Designed by British architect F.W Stevens, the terminal was built over a period of 10 years based on late Italian medieval models. Built with a blend of polychrome masonry in yellow Mallard stone, the structure effortlessly incorporates elements such as arches, turrets, and gargoyles. Described as one of the most beautiful railway stations in the world, the octagonal ribbed dome of it is the crowning jewel of the terminal. The architectural marvel is an important part of India’s heritage.
2. Kacheguda Railway Station, Hyderabad
A magnificent edifice of its era, the Kacheguda Railway station in the city of Nawabs is a testimony of the transitional period in the history of Hyderabad’s architecture. Opened in 1916, the railway station is the key railway line connecting the city to the inner regions of Nizam reign. It was used as the main station for Nizam State Guaranteed Railway. Designed by English architect Vincent Jerome Esch, the structure is a fine specimen of Indo Saracenic architecture. Built-in precast reinforced concrete, the structure uses elements such as chattris, chajjas, jails, and domes with lotus motifs, which makes it a sight to behold.
3. Charbagh Railway Station, Lucknow
An architectural marvel, the Charbagh Railway Station in Lucknow is an incredible piece of workmanship. Built in the Indo Saracenic Style with an amalgamation of Awadhi, Mughal, and Rajput architecture, the structure is a specimen of J H Horniman’s architectural genius. Overlooking a sprawling garden, the railway station resembles a Rajput palace from outside and is built in a way to resemble a chessboard when seen from above. Painted in red and white, the domes, arches, pillars, and smaller towers are built to look like pieces of a chess game.
4. Howrah Railway Station, Kolkata
The glory of the city’s rich heritage, the Howrah railway station sits on the banks of the Hooghly river. The red brick building is the second oldest railway station and houses one of the largest railway complexes. Holding the highest capacity of 23 platforms, the Howrah Railway station is the lifeline of the East Indian Railway. Designed by British architect Halsey Ralph Richard, the structure with its brick arches, windows, and loft, the tower is built in the Romanesque style of architecture.
5. Kanpur Railway Station, Kanpur
Built in 1914 by the British, the Kanpur Railway station is the largest and busiest railway station in the North Central Region. Inspired by the Charbagh Railway station, the Kanpur Railway Station is a mixture of Gothic and Awadhi architecture. The structure is an excellent example of Indo Saracenic architecture consisting of prominent domes, arcades with pointed arches, balconies, and grills with decorative filigree and charming pavilions.
6. Thampanoor Railway Station, Thiruvananthapuram
Considered one of the most beautiful railway stations in India, Thampanoor Railway Station is an important hub in the southern railway. An iconic landmark of the city of Thiruvananthapuram, the railway station is a jewel built during the Colonial days. Styled along with the British Colonial style, the building is a rare one of its time built entirely out of dressed rock and lime mortar without the use of bricks.
7. Royapuram Railway Station, Tamil Nadu
One of the oldest surviving Railway Station, the red and white painted station might be simple to look at, but has great historical significance. It is designed in colonial style with grand Corinthian columns. Built during colonial rule, the railway station now mainly acts as a heritage site.
8. Egmore Railway Station, Chennai
One of the prominent structures of Chennai, the Egmore Railway station was built in 1908. Designed by Hendry Irwin, the heritage structure served as the head of the Southern Indian Railway. Built in Indo Saracenic style, Egmore Railway station was one of the first to include Dravidian motifs in Indo-Saracenic style. The structure has a vaulted metal ceiling, scalloped arches and is one of the first instances where concrete was used in Madras.
9. Agartala Railway Station, Agartala
Modeled after the palace of the erstwhile Maharaja of Tripura, the Agartala railway station is an important hub in the North Eastern Railway. Built in Indo Saracenic architecture style, the white pearl-colored building is a jewel in the princely state.
10. Cuttack Railway Station, Cuttack
An important junction in the Eastern Railway Division, the Cuttack Railway station is famous for its unique appearance. Built in the style of Fort architecture, the facade of the railway station of the silver city is inspired by the Barabati Fort. The Barabati Fort is an important landmark in the city of Cuttack built as a defense structure during the reign of the Eastern Ganga dynasty.
- Sanchari Pal. “8 Railway Stations in India with the Most Fascinating Stories to Tell”. Accessed via nomadasaurus.com.
- Sindhuri Aparna. “Indian Railways Heritage Buildings: Indo-Saracenic Architecture Specimens”. Accessed via nomadasaurus.com.