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Train to Trainistan

The National Rail Museum offers a thrilling ride through the history of Indian railways.

entertainment Updated: Nov 09, 2009 21:25 IST
Mayank Austen Soofi

Don’t let malls, multiplexes and video games be the only memories your children have of their childhood. Take your children to the National Rail Museum in Chanakyapuri and rediscover your childhood in the process.

At an altitude of 206.70 metres, Museum Junction at the National Rail Museum is probably the safest train station in the city. No child-lifting gangs operate here. Coaches don’t move; steam engines don’t hiss; signals don’t flicker, and tracks are padded with overgrown grass.

Relics of a bygone era
Kids can easily clamber aboard the c. 1910 steam locomotive at the entrance. Once inside, Fairy Queen — the world’s oldest working engine — is ideal for playing a game of hide and seek.

Peek inside the locked wagon of the erstwhile Maharaja of Gaekwad. If not the children, their parents would certainly be impressed by the gold enameled ornate ceiling.

Don’t panic if kids are not in sight and you hear real trains whistling by. A busy railway track lies across the boundary.

Chuk-chuk gaadi
Be prepared for some real travel, too. The Joy Express, with its box wagons and baby benches, chugs around a track every few minutes. It is a chuk-chuk journey through the entire museum. A steam engine ride is a special treat reserved for Sundays.

Don’t miss the museum gallery. A glass case here displays the skull of a wild elephant that was killed 113 years ago in a train collision. The train models are riveting. Push the button on a model steam engine to see fire glowing in the coal chamber. Another starts moving its axle with great sound and fury. Kids would be unwilling to leave, but remember, there is no train home. Timings: 9 am to 5 pm; Tickets: Rs 10; Where: Chanakyapuri