The National Railway Museum (NRM) in the upmarket Chanakyapuri area in the national capital has seen a major facelift in the past two years.
It has seen the renovation of its indoor gallery, restoration of several of its antique trains and engines along with the induction of modern technology and interactive gadgets to exhibit the rich heritage of Indian Railways.
The museum is also collaborating with tech giant Google to create a “Google Cultural Institute” that will showcase the “extravagant heritage” of Indian Railways on a digital platform and would also include a 360 degree view of the museum on a global platform. As part of the renovation, the museum has built an indoor and outdoor railway model gallery. The outdoor railway model showcases the long railway route from New Delhi station in the national capital to the Chennai station down south, replicating the actual train movements, traffic management and model stations. The indoor railway gallery showcases Railways’ journey from introduction in India to the futuristic concept of Indian Railways, including the running of bullet trains in the near future.
In addition, the museum has also built three simulators—steam locomotive, diesel locomotive and a passenger coach simulator —for visitors to enjoy the experience of driving a train in a simulated original setting.
Uday Singh Mina, Director, NRM, told The Sunday Guardian, “The National Railway Museum is a pioneer transport heritage museum showcasing the rich heritage of the Indian Railways and under the present government and the Ministry of Railways’ support, we have been able to carry out the restoration and renovation work in a major way.”
“The museum is progressing at a great speed and the footfall has been rising rapidly since the past year. The introduction of latest advanced gadgets and information tools has turned this museum into an interactive one which can be compared to the renowned railway museums of the United Kingdom and Europe,” he added. A walk through the railway museum spread over 11 acres gives a glimpse of all its 95 exhibits, which include both coaches and engines. It also has five saloons (VIP coaches) from the 1875 era that have been recently restored and renovated from their dilapidated state into their original form.
In addition, the museum’s star exhibits are the Patiala State Monorail Train (PSMT) which runs on a single line and is the oldest and only zero gauge working train in the world after UK which has another one. The “Fairy Queen”, which is another prized possession of the NRM, is the oldest functional steam locomotive in the world and the Darjelling Himalayan Railway engines.
Several other engines and trains are on exhibition in the museum, which include the first electric engine in India designed by Sir Roger Rumley, the heaviest steam engine from the Bengal Nagpur Locomotive that weighs about 235 tonnes, an armour train from World War I, a “fireless” locomotive as it used no fire and no boiler and instead was mounted with a pressure vessel where steam was externally poured in from a static boiler, among many others.