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India – Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus)

The ‘heritage wing’ of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus is a railway enthusiast’s dream.

In the Star Chamber of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) booking office, with its dozen busy ticket counters, clattering coupon machines and its tall pillars holding up delicate domed ceilings, millions of suburban commuters begin and end their journeys on India’s oldest passenger railway route without letting history weigh too much on them.

But it is difficult to maintain commuter ennui, or indeed journalistic objectivity, when you find yourself looking down at the station from the gallery on the floor above the ticket counters for the first time in your life. You don’t have to be a railway official or invitee any more. On 28 December, the Central Railway authorities opened the wrought-iron gates of their “Headquarters Building”, the administrative wing, to casual visitors.

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