Anyone living or working in the bustling areas of Andheri East knows how tough life is without the aid of a functioning local train line. However, with the introduction of the Versova-Ghatkopar metro rail, things got easier, despite certain commuting challenges. It is very interesting to note that long before the international airport was built in Sahar, there existed a railway line, stretching from Trombay to Andheri via Chakala.
This may seem improbable today but it was a reality in the early 1930s. The Great Indian Peninsular Railway had undertaken the painstaking job of laying down a railway line to Trombay, located on the South-Eastern outskirts (back then it was a different town altogether), from Salsette, which is where Andheri is located today. The line was named Salsette-Trombay Railway, which eventually came to be known as the Central Salsette Tramway. This was seen as a positive move from the Bombay Improvement Trust, which saw an immense opportunity to colonize the virgin lands. This boosted the establishment of areas like Kurla and Andheri, which were previously colonies for small ethnic groups.
"The opening up of a railway line running west to the south-east and linking up the Andheri and Kurla stations to render available for building purposes vast tracts of land sufficiently close to the city." - Report of the Bombay Development Committee, Government of Bombay, 1914.
This line was used even for recreational purposes. People travelled to Trombay for picnics and purchasing locally made liquor from palm extract, also known as toddy. The Salsette-Trombay Railway also had a station at Kalina which was called Kolovery back then. It was located at what we now know as the Kurla-Kalina flyover. This flyover forms one of the most important junctions in Mumbai as it is the crossing of CST road over LBS marg.
However, as time passed, the city beseeched for an international airport, and in 1934 it was decided that the railway line would be demolished and erased from the history of Bombay. The service was discontinued and the tracks were dismantled. Even the locomotives used for the line (eight steam engines) had to be returned back to England. The prime reason for this was the proliferation of the Sahar International Airport. In today’s world, there would be millions that benefit from it, if it existed or was in the least, re-routed.
Rest in Peace Central Salsette Tramway, or what we would call the Andheri-Trombay local line if it were still present. Visit the Andheri railway colony to get a whiff of the historical importance of the site. Complete your visit with a stay at Dragonfly Hotels in Andheri East, Mumbai, located just 2.3 km away.