By Anmol Dham
The romance of the Indian Railways never fades, even in an age where air tickets are often as cheap as some train tickets. Also, let’s not forget that it’s a transportation medium that has been relevant for more than two centuries and is still growing in importance to the nation. If you want to take your child out for a fun afternoon, look no further than the National Rail Museum in Delhi. Here are eight reasons why they are sure to have a great time!
If your child has ever played with toy trains then you are at the right place. From train models of a wide range of locomotives to rail cars of different eras, besides a working model of a tunnelling machine and documents of historical value, the indoor gallery is bound to be a hit
The National Rail Museum is spread around 11 acres and if you’re wondering why it needs that much space, the answer is trains, trains and more trains. There’s a staggering number of diesel, electric and even steam-powered locomotives along with armoured cars, royal carriages and collections of interesting wagons covering the expanse of the museum. Besides, there’s a garden and daily turntable exhibition that displays different types of trains deployed for different terrains.
It’s not a museum unless it has a rare exhibit, but with this museum, it’s one plus too many! Don’t forget to check out the Patiala State monorail, one of the last working steam-powered working monorails around. Speaking of one of the lasts, you just can’t miss out on the Fairy Queen, the oldest working steam engine in the world.
I’ve never seen a kid saying no to joyride, especially with tickets costing just Rs. 20, for a tour that covers most of the locomotives on display in the museum. There’s a Sunday special ride of the Patiala state monorail which is a reason and a half in itself. If the heat is what you’re worried about, you can drive your steam or diesel engine through the technology of Virtual Reality.
If you ever wondered what ‘travelling in style’ meant back in the day, royal coaches of the Maharaja of Baroda, the Maharaja of Mysore’s saloon and even the Prince of Wales’ personal carriage, among many others, are on display. It takes us back to the days of princely states, a history lesson in itself for your child. You can even get a peek at the coaches of Palace on Wheels, an $1800/night train that tours most of Rajasthan.
National Rail Museum is a staple for schools that wish to take students for an outing. However, activities are not restricted to school trips and summer camps, since there are several exhibitions and panel discussions held all year round, with special attention given to occasions like Children’s Day and Museum Day.
The King of Gwalior was a flamboyant personality with a special saloon, which was designed just for him to dine in while on the go. There’s a restaurant that is modelled after the king’s banquet table with an intriguing train that chugs down the aisle serving food to occupants.
You can’t possible put a carry bag around amazing memories but you can pile in souvenirs from the shop onsite. If your child likes to play with trains, take home a shrunken model of an actual train along with posters, apparels, books and much more.
Where: Shanti Path, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi
When: Tuesday to Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm
How much: Weekdays: Rs.50/adult, Rs.10/child, Weekends & Holidays: Rs.100/adult, Rs.20/child