Historical buildings: Demolition of 132-year-old railway station stopped

The building was being demolished as part of a road expansion project.

"The building will now be converted into a historical landmark, similar to the Chauburji Chowk in Lahore," says Station Master. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD FAROOQ/EXPRESS


Demolition of the 132-year-old railway station on GT Road that started on Tuesday was stopped on Wednesday after traders and other citizens protested against it.

The demolition orders were dismissed by the Pakistan Railways general manager, who said that the building will now be converted into a historical landmark, similar to the Chauburji Chowk in Lahore.

Earlier, accusing the government of destroying the city’s built heritage, the traders and some other citizens said the demolition was not justified.

The protest was led by Shahid Babar Pehlwan, Mobile Association Chairman Malik Saleem and Mir Imtiaz, who said they owned shops in front of the railway station.

They demanded that the Archeology Department should conserve the historical site and convert it into a museum or a library.

They said a 132-year-old tea house at the building had already been demolished.

Station Master Muhammad Ramazan told The Express Tribune that the building was being demolished on the orders of the Railways general manager and divisional superintendent to expand a section of the GT Road.

He said since some section of the building had already been demolished on Tuesday, the remained will now be conserved.

Instead on expanding the road in front of it, he said, the road will pass along it. He said the site will be conserved along the lines of how Lahore’s Chauburji Chowk had been conserved.

He said a part of the bridge built in 1973 to connect Gondlawala Chowk to Sialkot Road had already been demolished to make way for a road expansion project. He said the road was being expanded by 16-foot. The building, he said, had not been much in use and as mostly cargo bogies were parked here.

After the 1857 mutiny the British had built several fortress-like railway stations across the country.

The Gujranwala station was built in 1881 to connect Lahore with Peshawar.

The protestors demanded a pedestrian tunnel in front of Sialkoti Gate also be preserved.

The walk-way was built at a cost of Rs30 million in 2011 to allow women shoppers an easy access to Galan Kasaban market from the GT Road. They regretted that it had become part den of drug addicts and part garbage dump.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 21st, 2013.


old Architecture lover | 10 years ago | Reply

Bad News : Some parts of this historic railway station building got destroyed

Good news : Due to the late but great effort by local business community most of the building got saved. I wish people from all over Pakistan realize these old buildings are part of our past and should be saved for coming generations rather than wiped out for expanding roads or making ugly looking new buildings.

Stranger | 10 years ago | Reply

Good great decision. We need to preserve these old monuments.How I yearn to visit Lahore . Will never be able to do it in this lifetime.

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