VISITORS SINCE FEB.2001:
Welcome to the Mysore Rail Museum.
After the National Rail Museum in New Delhi was inaugurated on 1st Feb. 1977, it was felt that one large central railway museum way up North was hardy adequate for people to appreciate their railway heritage. It was decided to open smaller regional rail museums at secondary town centres.
Two such regional museums opened subsequently: one at Mysore, and another smaller one at Udaipur, which specialized in tickets and passes. While the Udaipur tickets museum subsequently closed, the Mysore one still survives, albeit barely. This has been the last regional rail museum so far, though there is talk of new rail museums at Varanasi (Benares), Chennai (Madras) and Chandigarh, with Pune (Poona) joining the bandwagon in Feb. 2000. A small museum specializing in builders plates and steam locomotive fittings exists in the loco shed at Shaharanpur.
The Mysore Rail Museum was formally inaugurated by a member of the Mysore Royal family on 2nd June, 1979. Unfortunately, the Mysore Rail museum sucks. The exhibits here are in such a dilapidated condition that one wonders whether they were better off being sold as scrap in the first place. When I visited in July 2000, nothing there was worth writing home about, except probably the overgrown garden. The state of the exhibits was downright atrocious, to say the least. Several could not be photographed effectively due to overgrown branches obscuring them.I was the sole visitor, and as soon as I entered, I was constantly pestered for a hefty tip by the sole gateman cum ticket clerk cum toy train driver cum caretaker. He kept following me around so persistently that I had to rudely ask him to make off. His rate dropped from Rupees 50 to 20, which I eventually had to part with. Fortunately, this made him leave me in peace, and as a bonus, turn on all the lights in the indoor galleries, so I could at least photograph undisturbed.A magnificent YP class steam locomotive, delivered to the museum in 1993, was still lying in the same state she had been received in, even after seven long years. All in all, I was more happy to get out of the museum that I'd been while getting in, which was after a twelve year gap after my last visit in 1988.
One encouraging bit of news came in as I was sitting in the office of a senior official of the Southern Railway in his office at Madras in July 2000. This was in the form of a file from the SR headquarters, asking for proposals to repair and restore some of the very badly damaged outdoor exhibits at the Mysore museum. However, nothing is known as to what came of that file, for the exhibits are still in the same shoddy state. The senior official too subsequently proceeded on long leave, so its not known what his successor did with the proposal.
Here are some pics in happier days at the time of inauguration of the Mysore Rail Museum.
MRM 1: A member of the Mysore Royal family Sri Srikantadatta Nararsimharaja Wadiyar inaugurating the Mysore Rail Museum on 2nd June 1979.
MRM 2: HE the (then) Governor of Karnataka Mr.Govind Narain in the Mysore Maharani's car at the time of inauguration of the Museum.
MRM 3: Mr. M.G.Satow, Advisor on Museums to the Ministry of Railways, driving the spike to inaugurate work on the museum toy train on 21 Jan. 1980.
MRM 4: Mr. Mike Satow in the Sriranga pavillion alongside a model of a steam engine, along with museum officials and Mr. Mohanvel Achar, the fabricator of the model.
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