As a kid growing up in 80s & 90s era India, my summer holiday memories are filled with train travels. Getting on to the station, boarding the train, the seemingly endless but enjoyable train journey to the destinations, the interesting stations which the train stopped in between and finally reaching our destination. In fact, one of the main charms of the holidays was the train journey itself. Now of course there is cheap and fast Air Travel, but it can never replace or equal those wonderful memories of trains and the train journeys that I used to take as a kid.
The National Rail Museum in Delhi is one place I have passed by many times and it always stirred up childhood train travel memories. I used to make a silent promise every time I passed by the museum, that I must visit and one bright sunny spring Sunday, I finally visited this wonderful museum. It was 2 hours full of nostalgia, remembering some wonderful train travels and learning about some very interesting rail heritage of India.
The Rail Museum is located in south Delhi and is spread over 10 acres of landscaped outdoors; it has been divided into a station, train yard (including a turn table) and number of tracks on which different heritage Rail engines, wagons, coaches, etc. lie stationed. There is audio guide available at the rail museum which tells about the different exhibits in a fun way.
Just as I entered, I heard loud whistles of a train, it turned out to be Patiala Monorail State Tramways, which is the first train system running on a single track (started in 1907 and running till 1927). It was a feisty old thing, still whistling loudly and spewing white smoke.
Then we came to a number of exhibits from different eras and it was interesting to learn about the evolution of rail engines. The exhibits were kept in good condition and I went trigger happy with my camera clicking pics.
I spotted the smallest steam engine used on narrow gauge tracks, it was a cutie!!
It was a lovely sunny day and many visitors came with their kids and were clicking photographs with the train exhibits. I was clicking them doing their clicking 🙂
One of the grand exhibits was Shere-e-Punjab (Tiger of Punjab), which was running steam engine preserved in excellent condition. I simply loved this one!!
We did not realize it was almost 2 hours strolling and clicking photographs in the outdoors. Finally, we reached the end of the outdoor exhibit area, which was a small scale railway platform. there is a small toy train which runs all through the outdoor exhibit area, starting from this platform. I did not let go of the opportunity to be a kid again and took the joy ride 🙂
The National Rail Museum is a fantastic effort by Indian Railways to preserve and promote the rich Indian Rail Heritage. It is a fun place for both adults and children. I would recommend it as a must visit in Delhi.