Frames speak history of nation on the move

Reminiscence

swanky: The new-look conference hall at the office of divisional railway manager on Irwin Road in Mysore. The hall was modernised recently providing a state-of-the-art touch in ambience and acoustics. DH Photos by Prashanth H G

The renovated meeting hall in the divisional railway office was not always like this. The way it has been done up new with modern amenities like LCD projectors, lighting and what really attracts one’s attention are the framed photographs, nearly 15 of them.

The city railway station was originally designed by famed architect D V Narasimha Rao (1889-1975), who is also the founder member of the National Institute of Engineering. It was designed and completed in the early 1900s, said senior divisional commercial manager South Western Railway Dr Anup Dayanand Sadhu speaking to City Herald.

A continuous colonnade forms the facade of the railway building adjacent to the railway station. It is built almost to the street-line in the European manner, creating a pleasant cityscape.

There were eminent divisional railway managers like E Sreedharan (of the Delhi Metro fame) in the 1980s. However, what attracts anyone entering the meeting hall are the photographs.

Take the photograph of the second prime minister of the country Lal Bahadur Shastri who was the Railway Minister.

He is seen with general managers in the 1953 photograph. Another one of him is with the first prime minister, the suave, handsome Jawaharlal Nehru.

The one of the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi peeking out of a railway compartment is a beautifully captured picture and this was when he was on a donation collection drive for the Harijans during the freedom movement.

The one with train filled to capacity, hanging out from the windows and even people sitting on top of it, shows how popular and easy a mode of transport the train is and how much people are willing to travel at the cost of risking their lives.

Round House

There was a system in the railways which is a practice all over the world called the ‘Round House.’

And there are two such round houses in the country one at Erode and another at the Mysore Railway station, said Sadhu. Here there is a turn table and the locomotives ten in number are stationed in a circular fashion. Just two workers are enough to push the locomotive to send it to the mainline to attach to the bogies. A photograph of this which is an aerial view was taken long time back, said Sadhu.

Divisional Railway Manager Vinod Kumar who is the new incumbent has many more plans to make the building more attractive. He plans to put up a sign board which will display the history of the building, he told City Herald.

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