The century-old toy train that takes passengers from Mumbai’s expanding metropolitan area to the shady greens of Matheran got a new heritage steam engine last week. The new engine that reminds us of old steam engines comes to this rail service as part of the heritage month being observed by the Central Railway. A Heritage Gully too has been inaugurated at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) which gives a sneak peek into the history of Indian Railway. The gully currently has some old photographs and paintings along with century-old wagons and the administration has plans to enhance the exhibition.
Piece of heritage on wheels
Among the several attempts to preserve the pieces of history and heritage scattered over Mumbai, a new proposal has been mooted to restart the tram service, which the city discarded almost 60 years ago. Brihan Mumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking, which runs the iconic BEST buses had actually begun its services with horse-pulled trams and evolved into electric trams and buses. BEST still has a couple of them at their museum at Anik depot. As part of the heritage month, the Railways had offered to display the tram at the station premises. However, now a proposal has been moved to ply the tram between CSMT and Kala Ghoda on weekends.
The Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation had organised a four-day international festival of Ramayana in Mumbai. The festival gave people a chance to enjoy the rendition of the epic by troupes from Cambodia, Philippines and Indonesia apart from the different parts of India and witness the global appeal of Ramayana. The idea was to promote ‘The Ramayana Circuit’ under the Centre’s Swadesh Darshan Scheme. The ‘Buddha Circuit’ is in place and others are being identified.
Mumbaikars for the best
Mumbai’s public bus transport system is ailing. It faced two strikes in the past two years. A citizens’ body Aamchi Mumbai Aamchi BEST has been formed to fight for a publicly owned, affordable, accessible and decent bus transport in the city. In a unique feat, the forum recently organised a public hearing to bring together commuters and organisations from different parts of the city, document their experiences with public transport, trace the root causes of the present crisis, and to find solutions which are pro-people and sustainable. The hearing received a huge response.