Home > General, Museum, Railway > Rail Museum, Howrah

Rail Museum, Howrah

Rail Museum

Howrah

The stations and locomotive sheds became our temples, the locomotives the god we worshiped and our tributes were not measures in gold and silver, but in the profits of Kodak and Agfa.

Assortment of locomotives at Rail Museum, Howrah

Assortment of locomotives at Rail Museum, Howrah

The following lines are written by a railway enthusiast about the Indian Railway ~ It is often said that India is a country but Indian Railway is no less contrasting From the super fast Satabdi Express to the super slow trains of Mettupallayam- Ootacamund line, from the vintage steam engines of Darjeeling Mountain railways to the state of art technology of the Konkan Railway, from the luxurious coaches of the Palace on wheels to the cramped coaches of the Bombay’s intra city railways, India has it all. It is true that Indian Railway is as diversified as the country itself.

A Pakistani Steam Locomotive

A Pakistani Steam Locomotive

Experiencing the diversified aspect of Indian Railway, through travels, is an expensive affair, both in terms of money and time, but there is a way out.

The short cut of experiencing the history and evolution of Indian Railway and get a real feel of the vintage pieces can be done through the various rail museums scattered throughout the country.

The Rail Museum at Howrah (near Kolkata) is one such rail museum. The Rail Museum, Howrah is one of the Regional Rail Museums of India and is managed by the Eastern Railways. Although much smaller than the Indian Railway Museum in Chanayakapuri, Delhi but it still offers an insight into the history and evolution of Indian Railway.

Calligraphy on the East Pakistan Railway Locomotive, Rail Museum, Howrah

Calligraphy on the East Pakistan Railway Locomotive, Rail Museum, Howrah

On the right hand side of the entrance of the Rail Museum is a open area with railway tracks housing a array of different vintage locomotives. It contains an interesting combination of narrow gauge steam engines to electric and diesel locomotives.

Assortment of Locomotives, Rail Museum, Howrah

Assortment of Locomotives, Rail Museum, Howrah

It also consists of a railway engine belonging to the East Pakistan Railway. During the 1971 Indo – Pak war this Pakistani engine made its way into Indian territory and was captured by the Indian Army.

Steam Road Roller, Rail Museum, Howrah

Steam Road Roller, Rail Museum, Howrah

After spending several decades in the Bandel car shed it was restored and put on display at the Howrah Rail Museum.

Here are several other exhibits including a giant steam locomotive, which hauled a heritage train between Howrah and Bandel on 9 Sept. 1999.

There are also several commemorative coaches celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore and 100th anniversary of Sri Aurobindo’s arrival in Pondicherry. Sadly the coaches are kept under lock and key. Apart from locomotives and coaches the open area also exhibits several other railway accessories like cranes and steam road rollers.

A meter gauge Steam Locomotive at Hall of Fame, Rail Museum, Howrah

A meter gauge Steam Locomotive at Hall of Fame, Rail Museum, Howrah

On the left hand side of the entrance and opposite the open track exhibit is the Hall of Fame. Shaped like a railway car shed, it contains tow engines and three luxury saloons.

Collage of Locomotive Numbers and Manufacturers, Rail Museum, Howrah

Collage of Locomotive Numbers and Manufacturers, Rail Museum, Howrah

One the left is a giant steam meter gauge locomotive belonging to the Badrpur shed and on the extreme right is a tiny Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) engine (Also read: Chasing the DHR and Date with DHR). The third locomotive, a vintage 1855 stem engine, which was in display during the initial days has long been removed.

Junk Art, Rail Museum, Howrah

Junk Art, Rail Museum, Howrah

Each of the two locomotives are accompanied by luxury saloons and the third saloon is also in display.

Although visitors are not allowed inside the saloons but elevated platforms on either side provides a view of the richly decorated interiors.

The Hall of Fame also displays several models of locomotives and coaches and their is a detailed pictorial representation of the evaluation of railway engines, coaches and wagons.

The Rail Museum, Howrah is spread over a large area, with manicured lawns and landscaped garden. Several art installation, made out of railway junk are an added attraction. Also scattered are several railway accessories like wheels, signals, signal levers, guard lanterns, etc.

Railway Accessories, L: Wheels & R: Signals, Railway Museum, Howrah

Railway Accessories, L: Wheels & R: Signals, Railway Museum, Howrah

With the open tracks on the left and the Hall of Fame on the right the path leads to a circular open area, circumscribed by the toy train track. The modern diesel operated toy train has nothing to do with history, but it is a prime attraction and provides valuable revenue to the museum.

A kiosk, Tower (L) and Hall of Heritage (R), Rail Museum, Howrah

A kiosk, Tower (L) and Hall of Heritage (R), Rail Museum, Howrah

At the centre of the circle and standing on an elevated mound is a octagonal tower. Engraved on the eight sides of the tower are the brief history of the the different railway zones of Eastern India. It includes Kolkata Metro railway and Chitaranjan Locomotive Works.

Miniature Signal Lever, Rail Museum, Howrah

Miniature Signal Lever, Rail Museum, Howrah

The tower is flanked on four corners by hut shaped kiosks namely Virasat, Smritiyan, Vidyut and Doorsanchaar.

Virasat: This kiosk contains mannequins in different railway uniforms. Whether driver, guard, TTE and even coolies the uniform they wear and the job they do compliment each other so intricately that they have become icons in the eyes of railway passengers.

Smritiyan: Smritiyan, or memories, kiosks houses postal stamps and special day covers on Indian Railway. It also displays rare documents and pamphlets.

Vidyut: Vidyut, or electricity, kiosk narrates the tale of electrification of Indian Railway along with the evolution of electric gadgets used in trains. There are models of trains on track, which have long stopped running.

Neale's Ball Tokens, Howrah Rail Museum

Neale’s Ball Tokens, Howrah Rail Museum

Doorsanchar: Doorsanchar, or communication, kiosk exhibits the diversified aspects of Indian Railway’s signalling system. It contains miniature signals and signal leavers along with Neale’s Ball Token and machine.

Howrah Bridge (Rabindra Setu), Towering above Rail Museum, Howrah

Howrah Bridge (Rabindra Setu), Towering above Rail Museum, Howrah

The open space of the Railway Museum, Howrah offers spectacular views of the gigantic Howrah Bridge (Rabindra Setu) towering above the vintage locomotives and coaches, with the toy train passing in front of it.

Hall of Heritage, Rail Museum, Howrah

Hall of Heritage, Rail Museum, Howrah

On the left of the open area is a two storied structure, with some resemblance with the Howrah Station. This is the Hall of Heritage and doubles up as the starting and end point of the toy train ride.

Inside the Hall of Heritage

Inside the Hall of Heritage

The Hall of Heritage contains a model railway track, complete with signals, station, platform, level crossing and bridge.

Inside the hall are two hut showcasing information about the Howrah Station and Eastern Railway (formerly East India Railway). There are also mentions about the Sealdah and Kolkata Stations.

Rare photographs, posters and documents are also put up in display. Also displayed are vintage clocks, telephones, guard lamps and fans.

Memorabilia of different occasions of Eastern Railway are also on display. Also on display are railway crests, which signifies the pride and motto of different railways beautifully painted on wooden plaques. The crests depict the organizational respect and are of immense heritage value.

Crests of different railways, Rail Museum Howrah

Crests of different railways, Rail Museum Howrah

Note: Although written in July 2017 the photos and info used in the article are from Sept. 2012. Many of the exhibit mentioned in the article are no longer in display. There is a restriction on digital camera photography.

Necessary Info:

  1. The Rail Museum is open from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm, Thursday closed
  2. Entry fee is Rs10 per head, toy train ride are Rs10 per head
  3. Parking is located about 100 meters away, opposite the South Eastern Railway Complex
  4. Photography by digital camera is prohibited, however mobile photography is allowed.
Advertisements
  1. July 15, 2017 at 6:42 PM

    Asha korchi ebar Howrah jelar kichu darun notun tothyo pabo… 500 bochorer beshi purono sohor….

    • July 16, 2017 at 10:33 AM

      Thanks Souptik, Howrah has a lot of history. In fact this is my first post on Howrah, do have plans for more post.

  2. July 15, 2017 at 8:15 PM

    Quite interesting place, Rangan. Thanks for posting it here for all of us

    • July 16, 2017 at 10:31 AM

      Thanks Arv! for the comment

      • July 16, 2017 at 11:16 AM

        you are welcome Rangan dada

  3. Devashish Mazumdar
    July 17, 2017 at 7:46 PM

    this is just fantastic !

  4. yogensarswat
    July 18, 2017 at 9:27 AM

    Interesting place to visit !!

  5. July 26, 2017 at 11:34 AM

    I was staying here when they built his museum. never visited though. east pakistan railway ❤

    • September 8, 2017 at 8:48 AM

      Thanks Orange Wayfarer, do visit the Rail Museum in Howrah during your next visit to Kolklata

  6. younfo1
    • September 8, 2017 at 8:47 AM

      Thanks for the link, but it is not working

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: