To me personally, the sight of Chennai begins with the train slowly crawling like a caterpillar into the cocoon filled with the aromas that are only emulated in Madras city, then flies out with the essence of freedom as we step out of this place to be on our own self, which ever way you want, be it traditional, orthodox, conventional or sophisticated, modern and as a fashion fiesta. Yes, it is the one and only Madras Central Station. That transports just not people and parcels, but also life time stories of happiness, hopes, faith, history stories, talents , resources and also the stories of sadness and respect.
The station shares with us the glory of the past and the hopes of the future. Right from being the center stage in the struggle for Freedom in the Independence Era to the today’s rural youth migrating for better tomorrows with hopes and faith of survival in the city and supporting to the families back home. The glory is immense and the hope is deep.
Madras Central, as we fondly called is between the civic authority office which is another historically significant landmark of Chennai- Ripon Building and opposite to the Chennai Government Hospital that caters to the medical needs of thousands of people who come to the city in search of better medical care and health care needs of various kinds. Designed by George Harding, this beautifully designed Railway station stands tall even after 139 years of construction built in 1873 and renovations done in 1959 and 1998, still adhering to the needs of everyone who wants to come to Madras. The station received electricity in the year 1931 and from then it is tucked happily to support transport to the City’s every corner with the suburban railways and beach. Madras Central supports the cause of its existence with grace and glory with every passing day.
It is so iconic and prominent that it is the only landmark that featured in several movies and novels, and written widely about and used by million people every single day to travel and business. This Gothic Revival style building is the house of 15 platforms and been declared as a Heritage Site in Madras. The 136 ft Clock tower stands tall in the main building and having four faces chimes every quarter hour and at the top of the hour.
Madras Central is also iconic to the city trade and business for it transports including the inland and sea fish, postal and courier services, goods transport, minerals, coal, oil and petroleum products, timber and steel and loads of medical supplies, clothes, construction material, and several goods get transported through this major hub for transportation and communication services.
Early pictures of Chennai Central show that this place is definitely an identity for the Madras City and remains tall with its significance and predominant iconic status even today. Long live Madras Central with its glory and sounds of the clock tower clicking away happily into our future generations….