Churchgate Station

Sebastião Salgado, Churchgate is the terminus station of the Western railroad line, built by the British; the railroad system covers much of India. The trains are notorious for being dangerously overcrowded, 1995

Churchgate is the terminus station of the Western Railway, which, along with the Central Railway, makes up the the Mumbai Suburban Railway system, an offshoot of the first railway built by the British in 1853.

Carrying more than three million passengers per day, the Western Railway has one of the highest passenger densities of any urban railway system in the world on account of the large region it services. Despite its frequency of service (trains are often 3–4 minutes apart) the system suffers notoriously from massive overcrowding. During peak hours trains with a 1,700 passenger capacity are often packed with 5,000 plus passengers. (Almost as bad as New York’s L Train).

Churchgate station appears notably in Danny Boyle’s 2009 Academy Award winning feature Slumdog Millionaire. In an interview with the British Film Institute, Boyle acknowledges Salgado’s image as visual inspiration for the scene:

Originally I wanted it to look like the Sebastião Salgado photograph of Churchgate station—when everybody is coming off the trains and he freezes it but with a blur. I wanted 5,000 people and then it got cut to 3,000 and then it was 1,500 and then it was 800 and we ended up a few hundred with the best 50 dancers at the front.

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3 Responses to Churchgate Station

  1. Giovanni says:

    I love Sebastião Salgado’s image of Churchgate. It is a big inspiration for my project “Churchgate,” you can see on my website. Churchgate station is still incredible: nothing has changed. Probably, but not yet.

  2. Vidya says:

    This is just fantastic. The city as I remember it.

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