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You are here : home > Travel > Museums and Archives > National Railway Museum

National Railway Museum

National Railway Museum

A train lover at heart? Here is your one-way ticket to rediscovering India's rich railway heritage.

The National Rail Museum in Delhi is a must-see for any railway enthusiast. Situated near the embassy of Bhutan in Chanakyapuri, the Railway Museum is spread over 11 acres of land and is a one of a kind museum in India. It is the home of some of India's finest and rarest antique steam locomotives.

Indoor sections of the National Rail Museum

There are two parts to the indoor sections of the Railway Museum. There are the magnificent live exhibits and there is a dedicated museum section that has models of railway engines and coaches. It also has write-ups, which chart the evolution of the Indian railways. There are scale models, both working and still, of railway engines and the various types of coaches that have been used by the Indian railways over the years.
Apart from models, the museum also has some interesting exhibits, such as a collection of builder plates of companies that have constructed some of the locomotives that are on display. Also on display are a number of historic photographs, documents, and coats of arms. One can also find a number of antique furniture pieces on display along with instruments that have been used by the railways in the past. There are also mannequins displaying uniforms of the Indian railways.

Outdoor sections of the National Rail Museum

The outdoor exhibits are the true crowd-pullers for this museum. In a specially constructed outdoor exhibit, visitors can marvel at the splendour and grandeur of previous years' locomotives and carriages. On display is India's first steam engine that made its journey from Mumbai to Thane in 1853. Each locomotive is kept in pristine condition, having been restored and maintained on a regular basis. The locomotives have a dedicated plaque, giving tourists a brief synopsis about the history of each of the engines and carriages. While some locomotives are housed in sheds, most are in the open. They are interconnected with well-planned pathways to ensure that visitors can take in all the exhibits with ease.
The sprawling layout of the museum also includes a canteen and a turntable for trains. The turntable is used to change the direction of the train and switch it to a different track within the museum's mini-railway network. There is also a separate joy train track.

Prized Exhibits

The trains on display come in all shapes and sizes. From the tiny Diesel Shunter Fowler to the first electric locomotive EA 4006, each has it own unique charm.
  • On display is the saloon carriage of the Gaekwad of Baroda. Tourists can see the interior of the saloon and marvel at the opulence.
  • One of the most prized exhibits is the Fairy Queen. This train dates back to 1855 and is the oldest working steam engine in the whole world. The last time it was used for a journey was in 1997 between Delhi to Alwar.
  • Another important exhibit is the Morris Fire Engine. Built in 1914, by famous fire engineers M/s. John Morris and Sons Ltd. of Salford, Manchester, this engine was sold to the Nizam of Hyderabad. The fire engines were in production until 1921 and were known for their patented wet-type, metal-to-metal multiple clutches. In addition, major components, such as the radiator, were manufactured by specialised manufacturers. There is only one other such fire engine that still exists in the world, making this National Rail Museum's exhibit extremely rare.
  • The museum even has a small toy train that takes visitors around the external exhibits.
  • On certain days, the Old Patiala State Steam Monorail can be seen chugging around a track within the museum premises.

Visiting Tips

Avoid visiting the museum during the rains as seeing the outdoor exhibits will be hampered due to limited cover for most of the exhibits. The museum has its own small souvenir shop. Be sure to buy a souvenir book of the museum before you embark on the external exhibits. This will allow you to pick and choose the exhibits that you want to see if time is a constraint for you. Also available are paper weights and other memorabilia that the collector in you may like to buy as a souvenir of your visit to the museum.

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Gina Desai
Gina Desai.8 years ago
Engines always fascinate me. I would like to learn about them and want to see their modifications since the ages.
Lorretta.8 years ago
I would like to see the first Steam Engine. could you tell me where is it?
Maheta.8 years ago
Rail museum is a fun place to be. We get so many ideas and knowledge about the past.
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Discussion Forum - Recent Posts
Has modern rail travel has lost the romance of the yesteryears? In what ways do you think India should improve its railways? Should India focus more efforts on luxury rail travel? What do you think will be the favoured mode of travel in future?
Gaurav Gaurav
I remeber visiting this place when I was a kid. The different engines fascinated me and gave me an ambition of becoming a train driver. Although I never became one, this article takes me back to my ch...
read reply
Sonia Sonia
How many of us travel by trains today? Hardly 10% of the population. With plane tickets so affordable now, most children start travelling in planes from toddlerhood. They have never seen the inside of...
read reply
Kamyani Kamyani
I agree that many children born today suffer from the fate you spoke of! But that populace hardly equals the figures you quote. Most of India still reside in the B level towns and villages, and plane ...
read reply
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