Baroda Maharajah' s ''Railway Saloon Shed'', a heritage structure at Vadadora station, has to be saved

If  you go around some of the monuments scattered across India under  the government' control, they are not kept clean and tidy, part of the reason is visitors  come there only for fun and gossip loaded with lots of eatables and leave the place without caring  to put them in the dustbin  kept at  some corners there. There are  thousands of unprotected monuments across India  that need serious attention. from the government.  Besides .the piles of rubbish scattered all round,  at some sites where the repair work had been completed, ugly mounds of undisposed  rubble  are left behind  there. In some places periodic cleaning is poorly done. without any care.   Such sites are an eyesore to the new visitors.   If this is the state of the most popular of our monuments, it is difficult to visualize the mess at the lesser known ones. The heritage site of a railway shed  at the Vadadora railway station specially  built for the  princely state ruler of Baroda to keep his royal coach,  is a glaring example. 

railway shed for the royal coach, Vadadora station.historyofvadodara

Above image: At the end of the platform was built  a shed with brick walls, 28 windows, a triangular closed roof  to park the saloon. Now closed from the ends, the historic structure is slowly disintegration on account of official neglect and apathy................... 

Baroda ruler Gaekwad

In the Vadadora railway station, Gujarat there lies in a quiet corner an important heritage site uncared for and left to decay. A simple but historical building with no periodic repair work has been  ravaged by vagaries of time and weather. More disgusting is the fact that place is being  abused by the anti-social people- a hangout for hobos, gamblers and panhandlers. 

Maharajah Gaekward's royal coachhistory of vadadora in

 Above image:   Broad-Gauge Royal Saloon/ bogie with  living, dinning & bedroom  facilities. Custom made for   Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III.  A  self-contained  saloon  it had  Conference Room, Kitchen, Bed-room, toilet like functionalities. The salon  was provided with  had gold-plated ceilings, luxurious interiors, wardrobes and sofas, chairs and tables for the comfort..............................

The building is a  long linear shed meant  to keep the ''Royal Railway Coaches'' of Maharajah Sayajirao Gaekwad III (11 March 1863 – 6 February 1939),  who used to travel in grand style worthy of his status  to Bombay  and elsewhere in his luxurious custom made saloon with a separate coach for  his servants. Quite popular, he not only maintained a good rapport with the British, but also evinced keen interest  in improving civil works for the benefit of  people. A large narrow gauge railway - Gaekwad's Baroda State Railway net work, was inaugurated in 1862 . Later it was expanded further with Dabhoi  at its focal point, a network that still is the largest narrow gauge railway network in the world. In 1892 he introduced a useful  potable water supply scheme for Baroda  which is still in use. 

Vadadora, Gujarat. location map.

The royal coaches once used by the Baroda ruler are on display at the National railway Museum, New Delhi. This legacy of the erstwhile Maharajah  is a living testimony to his luxurious and royal life which the former rulers of India were accustomed to.  Apart, it brings to light the ruler's close association with the colonial rulers of the past era.  After India's independence in August 1947,  with the merger of princely kingdoms with the Indian Union, the ex-rulers opulent style of living  had begun to decline and they had to be content with a small yearly dole to keep up their royal life  with limited retinue. 

Located  between Pandya bridge and platform 7 of Vadadora station,  as of to day, this royal shed has not been repaired and restored to keep up its past glory. Way back  in 2009 and 2010, responding to heritage lovers of Baroda,  the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) and city-based heritage trust had drawn a draft  to go ahead with a heritage museum  project  in that site with five galleries on the upper and ground levels. The budget was Rs.3crore with one crore from the MP's fund. The idea was  to display  the history of the city and its connection with Cricket,  the Gaekwadi,  etc. There was a proposal to shift several items to this site from the local museum. The row over the possession of the building for restoration work that began in 2015 put a hold on the project, and  so far it remains  unsolved.

The long red-bricked building (more than 116 years old?) is pierced by  arched  windows at regular interval all around and  are   supported by stone sills perched on stone brackets. The building is showing cracks  and exposed brickwork in  many places. The double-patched and hipped roof is supported by  iron  stresses. The  wooden  battens in the inner part of the roof are used to hide purlins that  support  terracotta tiles. The advantage of this design is it will drain out the water quickly falling on the roof.  The gentle sloping  has an additional advantage; in the  roof the grills show rusting.

Pitced roof. 


The entry and exits are provided with a  large arched entrance. An attached  rectangular building projects' out facing the road from the shed.  On this side the vendors run make-shift shops  selling scrapes, so  part of the side has become a garbage dump. Way back in   February 2018, a fire accident took place in the garbage dumping area close to the shed  near platform 7. Cause of fire accident:  A lit cigarette butt might have been thrown on the garbage by some careless person. since then the railway shed  has been  in dilapidated condition.   According to sources fortunately  the building was saved as the fire service arrived on time to put out the fire. 

fire at the railway shed, Vadadora.

Above image: Fire officials at old Gaekwadi railway saloon  shed near platform seven, Vadadora railway station. ..

This railway heritage  shed that was built  to keep  the local ex-Maharajah's luxury private  railway coach is  a symbol of royalty and steps must be taken soon  to preserve it  for the posterity.