Aug 252016

Clicking  History of Indian Railways with Mobile Phone

National Rail Museum in Chanakya Puri, is such a hidden gem of Delhi that literally thousands past just next to it every day yet few visit it.  Nestled in the diplomatic hub of Delhi, just off the tony Shanti Path, right next to Embassy of Bhutan is this gem of a museum where one of the most important unifying forces of India, as we know today, is on display.

With my ever-increasing fascination for trains, I am not sure how many times I have been to National Rail Museum in Chanakya Puri, New Delhi. I think the first time was in school, and then many a time with friends and now I visit it with my kids. But the charm of the museum keeps on growing as they add new displays and make the facilities better for visitors.

Toy Train National Rail Museum Delhi

National Rail Museum Toy Train 

 Indian Railways played a pioneering pivotal role in the unification of the country and strengthening the Idea of India as a nation from a loosely huddled flock of small princely states surviving by accepting their role as vassal states to the Raj.  The British had no idea what forces they have unleashed when the first train chugged from the then Victoria Terminus towards Thane.  With railways came jobs, commerce and a migration movement like was never before seen in the history of India. With railways came marching boots from different corners of the country to stamp any rising heads against the Raj.  So railways played the role of both spreading the idea of the nation while also quickly moving troops to trample any heads rising to raise that nation by razing the Raj. Two sides of the same coin or may I say two bogies of the same train? But this post is not about a lesson on history version- desi.v016, this post is about my visit to the National Rail Museum in Chanakya Puri, in New Delhi and clicking pictures of Engines of History.

National Rail Museum Delhi

The National Rail Museum Delhi – Kids will love it

A few days ago in my post about Honor 5C mobile phone, I promised that I will share more pictures from the Honor 5C. So here I was at National Rail Museum as part of my “Explore My City “ for  Saddi Dilli.

So in this post, all the pictures that you will see are all clicked on the Honor 5C mobile phone. I basically used three modes on the camera of Honor 5C

  1. Auto Mode- simply called Photo 
  2. HDR Mode
  3. Video Mode 
  4. Pro Photo Mode – Where one can change and experiment with Shutter speed, White Balance etc.
  5. Panorama Mode
Toy Train National Rail Museum Delhi

Toy Train National Rail Museum – Clicked in Panorama Mode ( Click image for full size ) 

There are other modes also in the phone like Pro mode, that lets you control shutter speed, ISO, White Balance,  Time Lapse,  etc, that one can use as per the need.

Now let us go back to experiencing the National Rail Museum again. A visit to the Rail Museum can be divided into 3 experiences as of now

  1. Experiencing the history of Indian Railways in an enclosed hall with help of pictures, exhibits and working models.
  2. Experiencing the history of Indian Railways by admiring the now retired but once in use historical train engines, railway coaches and other equipment like line laying machines etc.
  3. Taking a joy ride in a Toy Train, this takes you around the exhibits, chugging at a leisurely pace.

In this post, we will focus on the joy ride and the various retired engines and coaches at the rail museum.

We could see some of the displays from the ticket counter itself as I was buying tickets that cost Rs 20 per adult.

National Rail Museum Delhi

Must be one of the last surviving of its kind engine in the world

As you enter you see the smallest railway platform in the world with a name, watch ticket counter and even a weighing machine in a corner. Very aptly the smallest railway platform in the National Rail Museum is called – Museum Junction.  A small engine modeled like the steam engines of yore is silently waiting there for the passengers to board the train.  One wonders if this lean machine will be mean enough to carry the burden of 5 bogies bursting with belles displaying belly buttons, Bhabhi jee carrying bottle-fed babies , Bhain jees with faux bags from Birkins,  and the ubiquitous Bhai sahibs of Delhi, all here for a joy ride in the one and only  – Joy Express, that starts and ends at the Museum Junction .

Toy train engine National Rail Museum Delhi

The Lean Mean Machine – Toy Train

As the engine comes to life it gives a grunt like a puppy when you deny him his and your favorite slippers to chew, but as any puppy lover will know it is the puppy who always have the last laugh. The grunts become louder and with the strength of Sakshi Mallik and finesse of PV Sindhu, the train slithers away from the platform as the cheering crowd gets busy taking selfies while passing within touching distance of the National Treasure of India on both sides of the tiny tracks.

National Rail Museum Delhi

National Treasure – Safe at National Rail Museum

I make a quick video using the Video mode of Honor 5C phone and move ahead to cherish my time with history sprayed around me every few meters.  My first model is an engine now permanently resting next to a signal that took the call – Gimme Red, too seriously and is now condemned to be red forever, halting the march of the muscular engine forever. But nobody is complaining least of all the long retired engine that took birth in a factory in England and traveled all the way to India. Maybe it is the only one of its kind left anywhere in the world, maybe somewhere out there is a distant cousin rotting in a long forgotten vestige of the empire? Who knows for sure?

Spoiled for the choice I decide to play favorites and click only those engines that appear to be shiny, and devoid of any selfie clicking crowd around them. As I wait for Sunny and Bunny kay mummy papa to move away and click the engine, the family looks at me in horror as they go to their next selfie spot.

“ Hai Ram this guy is clicking pictures of engines, Ajooba hee hai yeh  !!

Bhain jee enlightens Bhai Sahib not knowing that she may not be visible to me, but is still audible.  “ Welcome to Saddi Dilli yaar ! We are like that only jee”

National Rail Museum Delhi Bikaner Train Station

Bikaner Train Station

National Rail Museum - Model station of Lucknow

Some travelers say Lucknow is the best-looking train station in the country, do you agree ?

I move from the former engines and private coaches and saloons of one princely state to the next, I see coaches from Cooch Behar (  Princess Gayatri Devi who later married into the royal family of princely state of Jaipur and is better remembered as Maharani Gayatri Devi ) , then I see other names long merged into union of India. There is a station depicting the early version of Bikaner, there is an artistically made Lucknow station still showcasing the classical British Building with tiny bogies and people in front of it.

National Rail Museum Delhi

A reflection of the glorious past

I truly fall of the bold colors used in these trains. Yes, Sir if you really want to see the colors of India as they were before Independence visit the National Rail Museum of India and you will see that there existed an India full of colors of rainbow totally different from what we see in the black and white photos of that era. Thanks a lot to Indian Railways for preserving, and showcasing those colors of India for us.

National Rail Museum Delhi

Wooooooh … Make way for history is on the move – The bell on the Toy Train

National Rail Museum Delhi

Bengal Nagpur Railway – Now only at the Rail Museum

National Rail Museum Delhi

Can you tell what these numbers and alphabets mean? Visit National Rail Museum to find out

National Rail Museum Delhi

This beautiful flower is from the engine of Toy Train

National Rail Museum Delhi

Any guess what part of the engine is this?

National Rail Museum Delhi

I was hooked to the colors of India preserved and shared by Indian Railways

National Rail Museum Delhi

Looks like a red rose, in the dark hair of a maiden going to visit her lover ( Well what can you say when you love trains 🙂 )

I have never felt more proud of Indian Railways than when I was clicking these colorful train engines from Bold red to earthy greens, to bold Yellow borrowed from the Golden Mustard Fields of Punjab and then the most famous color of India the Bold Indigo all are represented here.  No sir history may be black and white in the textbooks but in reality, there is no dearth of colors in the history of India as painstakingly restored and represented by Indian Railways.

National Rail Museum Delhi

Not just on doors, Indigo looks great on train engines too. At one point in history, Indigo was the biggest export of India along with Opium

National Rail Museum Delhi old engine

The Earthy Greens and bright red are in abundance on train engines

National Rail Museum Delhi

Did somebody say – Colors of India from the Golden Sarson Ke Khet?

I wanted to peek into some of the saloons, but I am warned by a sign that says climbing the exhibits is not allowed. As a law abiding, god fearing, heritage loving, travel blogger and photographer I follow the rule and hence deprive you of pictures of the opulence in which our Maharajahs traveled.

National Rail Museum Delhi - Saloon of Maharajah

Train Saloon – Maharajah Style – sorry folks only outside clicks 🙁

Some of the engines are in open while some of them are in platform shed kind of enclosures that cover them from the top but leave the sides open. This presented a unique problem from the photography point of view. One of the engines I really liked for its bold green and red colors was in the partial shade. So half the engine was lit up brightly while the other half was in the shade, this made clicking an evenly exposed photograph difficult. This is where the HDR mode of the Honor 5C came in handy and I got the shot I wanted.  Also look at this colorful picture that carries the maroon, yellow and some blues on the side that was clicked in HDR mode of Honor 5C.

National Rail Museum Delhi

An old engine clicked in HDR mode of Honor 5C

National Rail Museum Delhi

Devil  lies in details – Clicked in HDR mode

One of the pictures l loved clicking is this old carriage with giant wheels now surrounded by blooming weeds thanks to rains just a few days ago.  I also converted this image in Black and White that you can see by clicking on it. Which one do you like better B/W or color? I am unable to decide hence posted both.

National Rail Museum Delhi (21)

An old carriage surrounded by overgrowth – Click for Black and white version. Which one do you like more?

Overall I would say it was a satisfying visit to the National Rail Museum but like I mentioned, in the beginning, I have been to the rail museum countless times and I am pretty sure, I will visit soon again. For there is so much to click, capture and cherish here that one visit is just not sufficient.

National Rail museum delhi

What do you see? Weeds or flowers or the butterfly on flowers? All this are a bonus when you visit National Rail Museum Delhi

So here are my 2 cents to you if you are in Delhi and want to visit a centrally located easily accessible national treasure and see the history of Indian Railways visit the National Rail Museum in Delhi.  If you have kids who keep on telling you to take them to the mall, may I humbly suggest skip the mall and visit the rail museum with them, they will thank you one day when they grow up? For any parent can take their kids to mall, it takes a parent who is raising citizens for future to take his /her kids to a museum and what better place to being with than our very own National Rail Museum where you have a Joy Express Train for rides and countless opportunities to click trains and engines from yesteryears. As a goodwill gesture, you are allowed a selfie or two as long as your face is not more than ¼ of the frame.

As for my verdict for the camera on Honor 5C, all I can say is have a look at the pictures for the proof of the camera is in the images. (Pudding is for chefs and foodies, this dear reader is your friendly neighborhood travel blog hence we give our proof in form of images.)

Useful information about National Rail Museum New Delhi

Location: Chanakya Puri, New Delhi 110021. You can follow this Google map to reach the rail museum.

Nearest Metro Station toNational Rail Museum is Dhaula Kuan on the Airport Metro line, but Jor Bagh on the Yellow Line has better connectivity.

Timings: 9:30 am to 5:30 pm, closed on Mondays and National Holidays.

What is the cost of entry ticket to National Rail Museum New Delhi

The entry ticket to the National Rail Museum on weekdays is Rs 50 for an adult, Rs 20 for a child, on weekends the price is INR 100 for adults INR 40 for children, and This does not include the cost of Joy Ride on Train. Ticket to toy train is Rs 100 /- there are some other simulators also that function sometimes like a steam simulator, diesel simulator etc. but are not regular.

National Rail Museum Delhi

Can you guess how old this engine is?

National Rail Museum Delhi

The wheels may have stopped but the journey continues…..

Note: All images in this post are clicked by Honor 5C mobile phone,  launched by Huawei India.

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  26 Responses to “National Rail Museum Delhi”

Comments (26)
  1. Somehow, we have missed out on seeing the rail museum on our trips to Delhi. We did visit the one in Mysore and had loved it. The toy train video just reminds me of the royal toy train of Vadodara, it brought back many many childhood memories!
    PS: The most beautiful railway station is hands down, the CST. No comparison, IMHO 🙂

  2. What a detailed post! We visited the museum again recently; have been there several times as kids. We found the place as fascinating as we did when we were kids. Guess trains have that effect on kids and adults alike! Enjoyed reading this post 🙂

  3. Nice to know about and see pictures of the Rail museum in the capital city. Great pictures as always.
    Seriously if not for these museums we’d only have seen these structures in black and white. Thank you for the pictures.

    I’ve only visited the railway museum in Mysore. It is a small one but my visit was so very interesting because I had gone with friends and one of them was the grandson of person who actually manned engines, ages ago. And believe me the grandson has a lot of knowledge about Indian trains and he was such a great guide.

  4. Bright and colourful

  5. The National Railway museum is a must visit in Delhi, especially if you have a kid.

    Especially loved your panoramic shot of the toy train.

  6. And guess what? I have not been there once, time to correct it and go with Chhavi!

  7. The pics say it is worth a visit. I have never seen so many dimensions of our IRS before! Definitely worthwhile visiting .

  8. I had no idea of this place. The post took me to the journey through the museum. Railway forms the lifeline for us Indians. This is an excellent opportunity to come across the history of its evolution. The pictures are amazing, bright and cheerful. The age old engines seemed so much in life. I loved the green Train Saloon and also the HDR one. I liked the black and white image. 🙂 The last image with the bright wheel does truly signifies the journey to continue forever.

  9. This is my husband’s favorite place. In fact the last time we visited Delhi, we wanted to go here but missed it. Loved the pics and your thoughts as well.

  10. That’s a beautiful place. I have to plan a visit again with my niece 🙂

    Beautiful shots and I loved color & texture in some of the photographs above.

  11. Nice informative article with ur lovely pics as always.

  12. Loved the post. Awesome pics from National Rail Museum. Thanks for the informative post.

  13. Looks amazing! Really wanted to go here the last time I was in Delhi! Next time I will try and make it… think my daughter (and I) would absolutely love it!

    You seemed to have had such a good time and it shows in your writing and photos! 🙂

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