Level Crossing Churchgate
Before Churchgate Station became the grand structure it is today, it was simply a level crossing. It has been the southernmost station of Bombay since the 1930s, and gets its name from the area it is located in, Church Gate Street (now Veer Nariman Road). During the 18th and up to the mid 19th century, Bombay was a walled city with three gates, and Church gate, named after St Thomas Cathedral, was one of them located near the present day Flora Fountain.
Being one of the busiest stations in the city, it the headquarters as well as the terminus of the Western Railway line of the city’s suburban railway.
The Western Railway in its present form came into existence on November 5, 1951 by the merger of its forerunner, the erstwhile Bombay, Baroda and Central India (BB&Cl) Railway, with the other state railways of Saurashtra, Rajputana and Jaipur. The BB&CI Railway was itself inaugurated in 1855, starting with the construction of a 47-kilometre (29-mile) broad gauge track from Ankleshwar to Utran on the West Coast, now in the state of Gujarat. In 1864, the railway was extended up to Bombay. The first suburban service in the city with steam traction was introduced in April, 1867, and was extended to Churchgate in 1870. The first electric train on this section was introduced in 1928 between Churchgate and Borivali.
The Churchgate building was constructed under the direction of Frederick William Stevens, an English architectural engineer who was known for his Victorian style. Construction began in 1894 and was completed 5 years later at a cost of Rs 750.000. The structure is an example of Indo Saracenic style combined with colonial and Islamic architecture.