Kanpur Railway Station is one of the most architecturally beautiful buildings built by the East Indian Railway in India.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The old EIR ‘Cawnpore’ Station building did not fall on the main trunk route alignment after the remodelling.
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.
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 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.
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.
It is the largest and one of the busiest railway stations of North Central Railway Zone in India.
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 video shows the history of the iconic station.