The National Railway Museum or National Rail Museum in New Delhi, India was opened in February 1, 1977 with over ten acres of land. This museum owes its popularity to the Fairy Queen, the world’s oldest steam operated train built in 1855 and is certified by the Guinness Book of World Records.
Having both indoor and outdoor exhibits, the National Railway Museum features about 17 main exhibits. Among the famous items showcased by the museum are the Fairy Queen, the Patiala State Monorail Trainways, the Fire Engine, the Electric Locomotive Sir Leslie Wilson, Saloon of the Prince of Wales, Saloon of the Maharaja of Indore, Saloon of the Maharaja of Mysore and the Electric Locomotive Sir Roger Lumley.
The Fairy Queen, the world-famous toy train, has won the National Tourism Award and offers daily rides to visitors that last no longer than an hour and a half. It was the first exhibit featured in the National Railways Museum. The ride starts at the New Delhi Cantonment and ends in the Award station where the soul of Rajasthan can be captured. There are also Fairy Queen Tours available for tourists with accommodations limited to 50 passengers at a time. Tours also run only from October to March. Passengers on-board can take advantage of the catering services offered in a beautiful lounge, dining with the scenic countryside on sight.
The Patiala State Monorail Trainways is based on the Ewing System and was built in 1907. This monorail was built by Orenstein and Koppel of Berlin, which ran until October 1927. Railroad historian Mike Satow discovered the remains in the Patiala State Monorail Trainways’ scrap yard. One engine was restored into full operation by the Northern Railways Workshops at Amritsar. Soon, they reconstructed what is now exhibited in the National Railways Museum.
The Fire Engine exhibit features two Morris-Belsize fire engines built in 1914. The 1912 model was preserved by the Enfield and District Veteran Vehicle in the Whitewebbs Museum of Transport in Clay Hill, London. The other model however was preserved by the museum itself which is now found in the National Railways Museum.
The saloons inside the exhibits offer views of train cars used by royalties. The Saloon of Prince of Wales was the one built for Edward VII when he visited India. The Saloon of Maharaja of Indore was for Holkar Maharaja and the Saloon of Maharaja of Mysore was built and designed with gold, ivory, teak and other materials for the personal use of the Maharaja of Mysore.
The Electric Locomotive Sir Leslie Wilson is a WCG-1 train that belonged to the Great Indian Peninsular Railways, which is the Central Railway at present. Today however, it is fondly called ‘Khekdas’ or crabs by employees because of the moaning sounds it produces while moving. These trains were used as shunting trains until 1994 at the Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, formerly the Victoria Terminus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Electric Locomotive Sir Roger Lumley is a WCP-1 engine that was supplied in 1930 from the Vulcan Foundry in the UK. It is an electric train that works under 1500 Volts Direct Traction and famous for carrying the Mumbai-Pune Deccan Queen Express during its maiden voyages. A prototype of this engine is then featured in the National Railways Museum.
Trains and railways have long been a part of India’s history for centuries. Make sure to take part of such unique account by checking out the National Railway Museum of New Delhi.