A key landmark in Pakistan, the Victorian-era Rawalpindi Railway Station is a stunning example of Indo-Saracenic style architecture in the region.
Constructed over a century ago in the classic British style, the yellow sandstone walls and arched entryways of this railway station in Rawalpindi offer a glimpse into the past. The kerosene lamps adorning the walls, an old grand clock near the platforms and the bell that signals the arrival of a train all add a nostalgic touch to this historic structure located in the Saddar area of the bustling metropolis.
Though the building has undergone some renovations and modifications over the years, its exterior looks almost the same as it did before.
This railway station in Rawalpindi was constructed in 1881 during the British rule as part of the Punjab Northern State Railway. The British had laid the train tracks in Rawalpindi to connect Lahore with Peshawar, two of the most important trade centres in the sub-continent. In 1886, the Punjab Northern State Railway was merged with other railway networks to form the North Western State Railway.
Since its construction, this train station has been used by national and foreign leaders. In 1919, Afghan King Amanullah Khan used this railway station when travelling from Landi Kotal to meet with the British viceroy and sign a treaty between the colonial forces and Afghanistan.
Following the independence of Pakistan in 1947, the railway station in Rawalpindi became a part of Pakistan Railways. In 1965, Fatima Jinnah’s Freedom Special train also stopped in the city during her historic election campaign. The first Prime Minister of Pakistan Liaquat Ali Khan, former President Ayub Khan, and former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto have all arrived and departed from this station in the past. In 1989, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto also used Rawalpindi Railway Station when she led a train rally from Karachi to twin cities for her election campaign.
To date, this station serves as a major stop for the trains travelling from Karachi to Peshawar. Have you been to it?
Photos: Vintage Pakistan.
Source: Urban Transformation Along Railway Corridor of Rawalpindi, by Rabbia Alam