1860

Evolution of Railway station at Kanpur - Then and Now

Rail Enthusiasts' Society

Kanpur Railway Station is one of the most architecturally beautiful buildings built by the East Indian Railway in India.

The original EIR ‘Cawnpore’ station building, National Railway Museum Photo Archives, From the collection of: Rail Enthusiasts' Society
An early photograph of the original East India Railway (EIR) ‘Cawnpore’ station shows the building's features which had a classical style of architecture, with extensive use of the ‘Doric Capital’ along the entire length of the building. 
A sketch of the old Kanpur Station, From the collection of: Heritage Directorate, Indian Railways

Above: A sketch of the old Kanpur Station, built in the 1860s, when the Howrah-Delhi line was opened.

The sketch had appeared in the newspapers at that time. Though it has neoclassical elements, by this time other influences had begun to impact the design of the building.

A view of the Bengal Nagpur Railway (now South Eastern Railway) Head Office, From the collection of: Heritage Directorate, Indian Railways

The Bengal Nagpur Railway Station also featured similar architecture. The building combines a number of features – a central and several smaller domes with lanterns on top, oriel windows with large mouldings among others. Hardly a plain surface was to be found on the facade.

Pratap Vilas Palace, From the collection of: Heritage Directorate, Indian Railways

Another iconic building with similar architectural style is the Pratap Vilas Palace, which was built in 1914 in Baroda. The main features are a symmetrical arrangement, classical columns and pilasters, pediments, arches and domes. The central copper dome is the centre-piece of this exquisite palace.

The old EIR ‘Cawnpore’ Station, now a Civil Engineering Training Centre, JL Singh, From the collection of: Rail Enthusiasts' Society

Above: The old East India Railway ‘Cawnpore’ Station's facade as it is today.

At present, this iconic building is a Civil Engineering Training Academy (CETA) of the North Central and Northern Railway zones of the Indian Railways.

Kanpur Station, JL Singh, From the collection of: Rail Enthusiasts' Society

The old EIR ‘Cawnpore’ Station building did not fall on the main trunk route alignment after the remodelling.

The rail side of the old EIR Kanpur station, JL Singh, From the collection of: Rail Enthusiasts' Society

The old Kanpur Station's rail side features include a wide platform, offices, waiting rooms, etc. that open on to the platform, with a barrel roof structure resting on an arcade across the platform line.

Kanpur Station - Then and Now, JL Singh, From the collection of: Rail Enthusiasts' Society

The distance of ‘Cawnpore’ from Calcutta and Bombay was prominently displayed on the main platform at the station. These were, at the time, the two most important cities in the country. Delhi, until it was declared the capital, was of a much lesser significance.

The new Kanpur station, built in ‘Indo-Saracenic’ style, JL Singh, From the collection of: Rail Enthusiasts' Society

The new station building was built in the ‘Indo-Saracenic’ style that had prominent ribbed domes with beautiful finials on top, a row of charming pavilions, balustrades, balconies and grilles with delicate decorative filigree work and arcades of pointed arches at three levels.

A recent photograph of Kanpur Station, JL Singh, From the collection of: Rail Enthusiasts' Society

The new building was inaugurated in 1929-30 by the Governor of the United Provinces. The building is still in use and has completed 87 years.

A view of the New Kanpur Station Building, Eastern Railway Photo Archives, From the collection of: Rail Enthusiasts' Society

It is the largest and one of the busiest railway stations of North Central Railway Zone in India.

An exceptionally wide platform - at Kanpur station, JL Singh, From the collection of: Rail Enthusiasts' Society

On the rail side of the building, the main platform is exceptionally wide with an impressive covered shed design. The main platform of the new Kanpur station is still in use, as it was at the time of its opening in the 1930s, despite the manifold increase in the number of trains and passengers.

The main platform of the new Kanpur station in the 1930s, Eastern Railway Photo Archives, From the collection of: Rail Enthusiasts' Society

The video shows the history of the iconic station.

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