Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus), better known by its acronym VT (Veetee), is a historic railway station of the Mumbai suburban railway, as well as for some long-distance trains. It serves as the headquarters of the Central Railways in India and is one of the busiest railway stations in India. On July 2, 2004 the station was nominated a World Heritage Site by the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO. //
Victoria Station, Bombay, circa 1903
View of the GPO end of CST.
The station building, built in 1888, is a magnificent and ethereal building designed in the Gothic style of architecture. The building exhibits a fusion of influences from Victorian Italianate Gothic Revival architecture and traditional Indian architecture. Internally, the wood carving, tiles, ornamental iron and brass railings, grills for the ticket offices, the balustrades for the grand staircases and other ornaments were the work of students at the Bombay School of Art. The station stands as an example of 19th century railway architectural marvels for its advanced structural and technical solutions.
The station was designed by Frederick William Stevens, a consulting architect in 1887-1888 for a princely sum of 16.14 lakhs in those days. Stevens earned the commission to construct the station after a masterpiece watercolour sketch by draughtsman Axel Herman. After earning the commission, Stevens went on a ten-month trip to Europe to make a detailed study of the stations there. St Pancras station in London bears some resemblance to Victoria Terminus.
It took 10 years to complete and was originally named “Victoria Terminus” in honour of the reigning Queen Victoria. In 1996, in response to demands by the Shiv Sena and in keeping with the policy of renaming locations with Indian names, the station was renamed by the state government after Chhatrapati Shivaji, a famed 17th century Maratha king. Since the moniker Victoria Terminus, or VT, has been long-standing, its use among the city inhabitants is still widespread.
The network of suburban trains (locally known as locals, short for local trains) radiating out from this station is instrumental in keeping Mumbai running. The station operates long distance trains as well as two of the suburban lines-the main line and the harbour line. It is the westernmost endpoint of Central Railway.