Kamalapur Rail Station:A Tale of a station

Kamalapur Railway Station is the central railway station in Dhaka, Bangladesh. It is the largest railway station of the country, however the most important terminal for communication between Dhaka and whole Bangladesh. It is also one of the most modern and striking buildings in Dhaka designed by American architect Robert Boughey. Kamalapur railway station situated in the north-east side of Motijheel.

There was only one railway station in Fulbaria, Dhaka. After the partition of Bengal, Dhaka became one of the important cities. But when the station need to extended then it was planned to transfer to somewhere else and then Kamalapur was selected for extension. Once upon a time it used to be a paddy field. At the starting of the 60’s this station was built. At that time it was one of the important establishment in the east Pakistan. It was mesmerizing to people at that time as there was not so many beautiful structures in Dhaka. At that time consulting engineers Pakistan ltd established an architectural firm in Dhaka in 1960 named Berger Engineers in collaboration with the American firm Luis Berger Inc. Several architects working for them and teaching at East Pakistan University of Engineering and technology designed many institutional buildings up to 1967. An inconsistency can be traced in their work as of them had little knowledge and of them had little knowledge and experience of the local context, and often different architects were designing different architect building in the servre campus. Their works were comparatively national and neat. Among the Berger architects, Robert Bouighy maintained a consistency in architectural vocabulary, technical excellence and aesthetics in his creatives, concrete frame structures and its honest expression through ribbon window, non-load-bearing partition walls and cantilevered veranda as are some examples that characterised Bouigh’s design. An inter-marriage of spatial and structural innovation culminated in his outstanding designs of the Kamalapur railway station, which is remarkable for the open petal shaped canopy unifying a number of otherwise disjointed buildings an innovative expression through architectural forms.

Architectural Value

Kamalapur railway station was built by Robet Bouighy and it reflects his own way of style. It is an architectural marvel with lotus-shaped shell structure covering the functional buildings like an umbrella and thus unifying all various spaces beneath it. Robert Boughey was among the five American professors of architecture who used to teach at BUET when it opened the program in 1962. There are some 21 ticket counters and we can buy all local tickets from 20 ticket counters and we can even buy tickets to go to India and its ticket counter is different. There are 2 waiting rooms and one for first class and another for second class passengers. There are 8 platforms and we can find 2 restaurants in front of the ticket counters and there are also some fast food shops near the ticket counters. It was only a meter-gauge car serving station even one year back but now (from 2008) both meter-gauge and broad-gauge trains can operate from here.

Present condition

When it was built it was maintained very carefully, but slowly time passed and it lost its previous condition. Every day it is like almost 50 trains allots from here to different cities in Bangladesh. There are 47 local trains, 28 express trains and 24 inter city trains. To help the general people there are lots of security guards, station masters and station manager. Every day there are thousands of people who come across the station and travel throughout the country. Usually we can use this trains to go to any part of the country except Borisal, Potuakhali. We can now also go to India direct from this station. The platforms always remain populated whether it is night or day. We will find people all the time and they all are seen in rush and hurry. We will come across so many pickpockets, beggars and hijackers at the station. In the night it is so difficult to move from here and there as there is a risk of our life. Though lots of guards, police and rabs are seen outside the station to control the situation but still there are some risks. In front of Kamalapur railway station, there is Pir Jongi’s Majar (a famous shrine). Kamalapur station looks very crowded during the time of train. Taxi, auto rickshaw, rickshaw, private car and many more vehicle are gathered in front of station. Centering on the Kamalapur Railway station, a huge floating market establish in this area. However there is small tea stall and small shops where the product which is necessary during journey are available. This open air markets generally available booklets, bread, mineral water, dry food, juice, t-shirt, napkins, cigarettes, etc. As there reality the station is the sleeping place for the homeless people. It is true there is floating prostitution with high risk of AIDS. However the station is playing important role in commerce of Motijheel area.Source:wikipedia.com

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