Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Historical Kozhikode Railway Station, 129 years old - a colonial feat!


he Kozhikode Railway Station kalli valli
The Kozhikode Railway Station The Hindu
The Kozhikode Railway Station is one of the oldest railway stations in India and on 2 January 2013, it celebrated its
125 birthday. The important feature of this historical celebration was the active public participation and the cooperation of the railway authorities. There were quiz competitions, seminars, etc., related to that event. The lives of the people living in the city and neighboring areas are interwoven with the Kozhikode station that has taken care of the transport needs of the communities  for several decades.The advent of a  railway station brought about a rapid change in the socio-cultural scenario of this region. It provided an opportunity conducive to their upward mobility in the society.

As to the exact opening of the station, it came to light accidentally. One Oliver Noone, an English  doctor whose vocation was research in history unexpectedly  ran into a record related to Calicut in the British Library, London. According to an almanac for 1889 under “Calicut - the Railway was opened to Calicut on the 2 January 1888, and this station is now the " Western Terminus of  the Madras Railway.” He also found out some information  from the almanac of 1865 about the opening of the line from “Beypoor to Tiroor, l9 miles”, the first in the Malabar region.

“Railway traffic was opened between Beypore and Tirur on March 12, 1861, and it was after 27 years that the terminus was changed to Kozhikode,” according to Shinoy  Jesint, a researcher at the Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Kalady. He is researching on 'A Study of the Colonial City Calicut' based on information found in the early records in the Regional  Archives. Beypore is a coastal town and it was near this town. Vasco de Gama, Portuguese navigator, landed his fleet of ships  in 1498 and discovered the first sea route to India. Centuries later, the British colonists developed the railways in India for their benefits connecting the port town with hinterlands for transporting the products to be shipped to England and other countries. Thus, the first stations in the country were port cities — Mumbai in1853, Kolkata in 1854 and Chennai in 1856. In this regard, initially, Beypore station and the connecting railway line gained due importance and only in the later years, Kozhikode became the 'Terminus'. It showed that Beypore was considered an important port in the by-gone time, so was Tirur, that was close to Tanur, a major 'fishing' center.  Consequent upon Kozhikode becoming a major station and a railway administrative  center, Beypore lost its importance, Research Scholar Shenoy expressed his opinion. 

Yet another major engineering marvel was the construction of Feroke Railway bridge (1888). It threw open many areas aroubd this city that could be accessed only through boat in particular.

Feroke Bridge. Kozhikode,Kerala.baneeshclt - blogger


Above image: Old Feroke railway bridge, Kozhikode over Chaliyar river, which originates from Elambaleri hills in Wayanad and joins the Arabian sea between Chaliyam and Beypore. The bridge was built by the British in 1888 to connect the nearby areas.  Still  serviceable, it is a great engineering feat in those days.  It is  believed that  that British engineers adopted a unique method of filling its pillars with molten lead to add strength and flexibility. ..............
 

Young people moved out from this remote place, boarding the Madras Mail for better educational opportunities and got back as lawyers, engineers, doctors, etc., to serve the community.

The Railway Institute there also celebrated its 125th anniversary.  In the railway history of Kerala, Kozhikode railway station has an enviable position, being the oldest in the state.

Tit-Bits:

01. On February 8, 2017 the expression of interest for the development of the 23 stations, including Kozhicode would be invited by the Union Railway Ministry. This project drafted two years ago would allocate Rs 322 crore for development works to be done at Kozhikode railway station, thereby converting the station into a commercial-cum-recreational point. 

02. As many as 60,000 people visit Kozhikode railway station daily on an average. 

03. Beypore town is about 6 miles (9.7 km) from Kozhikode, at the mouth of the Beypore river. Formerly known as Vaypura and Vadaparappanad. Tipu Sultan named the town "Sultan Pattanam". It is one of the important ports of Kerala and an important trading centre. Used to be a major ship-building center in the past.


 04. The station has several vintage features including a recreation club named the Railway Institute built by the British adjacent to the station in 1888 . It served  as a place for the social interaction  of the Railways' employees. There a cast iron mechanical pumpset  imported from England to pump water into steam locomotives (iron horses).

http://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/history-and-culture/a-milestone/article4013251.ece