Chennai: The Chennai Metro Rail will soon appoint a design consultant specially for developing the largest underground station in Chennai, the Central Square.
The Chennai Central Metro Rail station, which has now been named Central Square, sprawls over 70,000 sq. m and goes as deep as 25 metres.
According to Chennai Metro Rail Ltd. (CMRL), this station, built at a cost of Rs.400 crore, will have an exclusive consultant for civil, architectural and landscaping works.
Besides these, the consultant will have to supervise the construction work and design development.
They have called for tenders for the appointment of a consultant and this process will be completed soon.
In an attempt to make this station a hub, CMRL has planned to link it to various other modes of transport, including MRTS, buses (intercity and inter-State) and suburban railway lines.
Fears of heritage lovers allayed as authorities tell them the building will retain its original maroon colour
If you had passed by the Chennai Central railway station recently, you would have noticed that it was wearing a bit of white. The ‘white’ lead to consternation among heritage watchers, who heaved a sigh of relief when they realised that the colour of this heritage building is not being changed. It is just white primer paint that will prepare the building to painted its original maroon colour.
The facelift, being carried out after five years, is undertaken by the Buildings division of the Southern Railway.
A 20-member team led by the Southern Railway’s divisional engineer (Buildings), Mr. Ramamurthy, will monitor the entire work.
The Chennai Circle of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) provides technical assistance to Southern Railway in the conservation of the building.
“The station building has had the maroon colour since its inception in 1873. There is no change of colour. As the earlier colour faded, we started to give a fresh coat of paint to make the building look bright,” said a senior railway official.
The painting work will cover around 9,000 sq.m of space of the main building of the railway station.
However, the work will be carried out in segments to ensure the original character and style of the building is maintained.
“Such regular maintenance of heritage buildings is needed. As the building belongs to the Southern Railway, we provide only technical support whenever we are requested by the railways,” said an ASI official.
Designed by British architect George Harding and later by Robert Fellowes Chisholm, the Central railway station buildings have some unique Romanesque architectural features, including Travancore ‘caps’ on the main towers, a central clock tower, semi-circular arches, thick walls and large towers.
Most of the churches in England and Portugal in medieval Europe have this style of architecture.
Interestingly, the place where the Central railway station is located now was earlier a garden owned by a Portuguese merchant, John Pereira, before it was taken over by the Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway in 1870.