• Tue. Jul 23rd, 2024


Do you know where the headquarters of Eastern Railway was before? There are hardly any Bengalis who do not know the big building of the Eastern Railway in Fairlie Place. Known as the headquarters of the Eastern Railway since the colonial era, this building is still appreciated as a sign of British architecture.

The headquarters of Eastern Railway was not in this building before. In 1879, the office of the then East Indian Railway was shifted to Fairlie Place. This East Indian Railway was later known to the public as Eastern Railway or Eastern Railway. Prior to shifting to this new building, the headquarters of Eastern Railway was operated from a building on Theatre Road.

Photo: Present Look of Eastern Railway’s Headquarters at Fairlie Place

The earliest map of the Fairlie Place area, dating back to 1794, shows the existence of an unnamed road that connects the old fort wharf. With the establishment of Fort William in 1773, the then British government abandoned this old fort located to the west of the present Writers’ Building.

The road passing by this fort or fort became known as Fairlie Place at that time. Fairlie Place is named after William Fairlie, a well-known businessman of Fairley, Gilmone & Company. This business organization supplied food to the elephants and camels of the army division of the Bengal Presidency during the time of Lord Wellesley. The National Museum (National Museum, Calcutta) was housed in this building for some time before it was acquired by the East Indian Railway, headquartered in Fairlie Place. The East Indian Railway acquired this building and opened a booking office here which came to be known as Fairlie Place Booking Office. After a few years, the East Indian Railway acquired a large area adjacent to this building and gradually the present large building was constructed, with the main entrance facing the present Writers’ Building. Since then, the building has been used as the headquarters of the East Indian Railway and the headquarters of its successor, the Eastern Railway. Now, however, Fairlie Place is not the related street, but this building is known to the public.

(With Inputs from Kausik Mitra, CPRO, Eastern Railway)

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