Chugging through centuries of history

The National Rail Museum in New Delhi focuses on the fascinating rail history of India.

The National Rail Museum, in New Delhi, is a unique museum and the only one of its kind in Asia. Focusing on the Rail History of India, this museum offers its visitors a lot of fun and entertainment, coupled with an insight into rail history, heritage, nostalgia and the romance that goes with it. It was inaugurated on February 1, 1977.

“This tourist spot spread over 11 acres of landhas over 90 different types of exhibits which include locomotives, royal saloons, cranes, wagons, coaches, furniture, signal and telecommunication equipment, clocks, tickets and ticketing machines. These exhibits offer the visitors an insight into our rail history and heritage”, says Mr Jitender Tatawat, Museum Officer at the National Rail Museum. The indoor gallery at the museum has history ingrained in the various models and artefacts displayed there. There is a toy train and a park for children too.

Old gold

The Morris Fire Engine, which was built in 1914, has been given a place of honour in the museum. Used by the erstwhile Nizam’s State Railways, Hyderabad, this pre WW-1 vintage car, which is still in working condition, is one of its kind in the world. This fire engine was used in Secunderabad to put out fires in railway engines and coaches as well as around the city whenever the necessity arose. The National Rail Museum in New Delhi and the Regional Rail Museums in Chennai and Mysore are storehouses of rail heritage and history.

Arjun A Bharadwaj, a ten year old visitor from Bengaluru, said he found the Indian Railways history interesting and learnt a lot from the indoor and outdoor exhibits. He feels “all children must visit this museum, only then will we all develop pride in the most important transportation system of the country.”

Royal carriages

“One of the prized possessions of the museum is the Monorail of the erstwhile Maharaja of Patiala State, which is the only working steam monorail in the world. The royal saloons of the Maharaja of Mysore, the Gaekwar of Baroda and the Raja of Bhavnagar are still intact and can be viewed by visitors. The Vice Regal Dining car used by the Viceroys and the royal coach of the Prince of Wales are open to visitors too,” continues Mr Jitender.

On track

The history of the Railways in India dates back to the mid 19th century. Soon after the first ever rail journey took place in the world, the British began contemplating setting up railways in India to help with their transportation and commerce. The British set up two companies in London – the East Indian Railway and the Great Indian Peninsular Railway, where construction for the Indian Railways began immediately.

The first Indian train of the Great Indian Peninsular Railway (GIPR), was set on its tracks on April 16, 1853 from Bori Bunder in Bombay to Thane. Four hundred guests took this voyage in 14 carriages, hauled by three steam locomotives – Sahib, Sindh and Sultan. On August 15, 1854 the first train of the East Indian Railways ran between Howrah and Hooghly. Two years later the Madras Guaranteed Railway Company was set up and the first train of this company ran between Veyasarpaudy and Walajah Road on July 1, 1856.

The British managed to set up rail connections from the three major port cities, namely Bombay, Calcutta and Madras. Over the years the railway network has expanded tremendously. Many stations, bridges, tunnels and workshops have been constructed. Today, under the unified Indian Railways, we have the second largest rail network in the world.

Published in: on November 20, 2011 at 4:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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