Charbagh station’s unique water supply system to be replaced
The Charbagh railway station, which dates back to the British era, will soon lose its traditional water distribution system, once considered to be its life line. The civil engineering department responsible for the upkeep of the water distribution/storage system and other tasks, is planning to replace the age-old system that served the station for almost 90 years, calling it ‘obsolete’.
Charbagh railway station, one of the most beautiful railway stations has many distinguishing features, its architecture (a blend of Rajput, Oudh and Mughal) being one. It is said a bird’s eye view of the station gives a chess-board look. Among the other existing station buildings, this is the one that has maximum number of domes, pillars and minarets.
A lesser known feature of this station is the unique design of its water distribution/storage system, says Inspector of Works (IoW), a wing of civil engineering department. A senior officer said Charbagh was perhaps the lone station across the country to have water storage tanks inside its domes.
The station has 6 overhead tanks, measuring 8 by 8 by 8 ft, each having a capacity of 32,000 litres of water. “It is extreme engineering, as making water storage tanks inside the domes is like thinking out of the box. The designer JH Hornimen really did excellent work, ” said SK Sharma, a retired railway official and a heritage enthusiast.
Sharma, who has worked extensively on the station’s water distribution system, said, “The overhead tanks were designed in a way that water level in all the tanks increased or decreased together.”
Initially, the tanks, made of rust-free cast iron, ensured the water supply not only in trains but also at the station and platform number one. But later, when the number of platforms increases, the use was reduced to the station and platforms only.
Officials said for decades the water distribution system, the measuring gauge of which is still seen near the station manager’s officer, served the train passengers. But a few years back, when the station building that is over 90 years old, developed a crack beneath the water tank, the department decided not to use two of its tanks.
Senior officials said four tanks were still in use and catered to the station’s needs. But the officials feel that the building is too old to sustain the load of such huge capacity tanks. Hence they are thinking of replacing them, using tube wells. On condition of anonymity, a civil engineering department said official said there was a proposal to stop the use of the old tanks and to get new tube wells re-bored.
Officials said presently the station had around 13 tube wells, two overhead water tanks and one underground reservoir.