The present-day Headquarters building of Central Railway popularly known as Victoria Terminus (now Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus) is an architectural marvel.
This magnificent monument was originally planned as the office of GIP (Great Indian Peninsular) Railway. This is the most photographed building after Taj Mahal and was designed by Frederick William Stevens, a consulting architect. Thus taking almost a decade to build it at a princely sum of Rs.16,13,863/-, Stevens designed the monumental Terminus which was the largest building then erected in Asia and which even today is a standing testimony of his innovative talent.
The construction started in 1878 and on Jubilee Day in 1887, it was named after Queen-Empress Victoria. Later in 1996, it was renamed as Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. It was again renamed as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus in July 2017. In 2004, UNESCO has enlisted this building as World Heritage Site for its architectural splendor. From December 2012, this heritage building has been opened for public viewing on working days.
Shivaji Maharaj Terminus is designed in a Gothic style adapted to suit Indian context. It is a C shaped building planned symmetrically about the east-west axis. The crowning point of the whole building is the central main dome carrying up a colossal 16’-6’’ high figure of lady pointing a flaming torch upwards in her right hand, and a spoked wheel low in the left hand, symbolizing `Progress’. This dome has been reported to be the first octagonal ribbed masonry dome that was adapted to an Italian Gothic style building.
The station was constructed with six platforms at a cost of Rs.10.4 lakh and in 1929, the first remodeling took place to have 13 platforms. Further modifications were done to the yard and the station had two more platforms thus making it a total of 15 platforms in 1994. Today, it has 18 platforms with a spacious east side entry as well. In April 2018, a heritage gully was inaugurated adjacent to platform no.18, wherein Sir. Leslie Wilson, the GIP Heritage Electric Loco, and other heritage items are displayed.
During Centenary celebrations of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Building, a postal stamp was released. In 2013, when the building celebrated quasi-centennial (125 years) anniversary, a special postal cover was released on the occasion.