The Old Durban Railway Station, as well as the Durban City Hall and Old Post Office are key architectural pieces in the heart of Durban CBD. The Old Durban Railway Station was built in 1892 (Victorian Architecture). Its elegance is timeless and continues to give the building and its surrounds an undeniable charm. This sizeable building was built using dramatic red bricks, standing tall and bold on the street corner. The roof plans were accidentally switched by the architects, and this railway station got the roof design that was meant for the Toronto Railway Station in Canada, and vice versa.
The railway station was significant for a number of reasons. Not only did it play a key role in the establishment of a city and its various industries, but it also facilitated the growth and development of the community; a community that, today, represents the diversity of modern South Africa. Interestingly, it was also along this railway that Mahatma Ghandi was forcibly removed from the train for refusing to move from the ‘whites only’ cart. The plaque on the wall at the station reads, “Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi took the first step in his struggle against all forms of discrimination and oppression when he boarded a train at the Durban station on 7th June 1893.
His forcible removal from the train at Pietermaritzburg on grounds racial prejudice had a profound influence on Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of life and on his future. He himself said that the dedication of his life to the cause of human justice and equality began from that experience. ‘My active non-violence’ he said, started from that date.” The Old Durban Railway Station is now home to the Tourist Junction, which is the main tourism centre for the city.