Welcome to the National Rail Museum, New Delhi.
India's (and indeed Asia's) trailblazing first train made its inaugural run on 16 April, 1853 between Bori Bunder (later Bombay VT and now Mumbai CST) and Tanna (later Thana and now Thane).
Since then, the Indian Railways have never looked back. The IR is now the fourth largest railway system in the world (second largest under a single management), with nearly 63,000 route km criss-crossing the length and breadth of the nation. Over 25% of the track is electrified, and passenger reservations are 100% computerized and interlinked. High speed express trains, container and heavy haul freight, high power electric and diesel locomotives and modernization are the order of the day.
In the background of all this high-tech glitz and glamour stand those retired vanguards of a by-gone era, resplendent in all their past glory. Vintage locomotives, cars and stock, each one of them epitomizing the things that were, representing the glory of yesteryear: the royal trains of the Maharajas and Princely States of pre-independence India, as well as the trains used by the general population.
One must understand that the high tech railway we see today is built upon a solid foundation: the millions of kilometres clocked by these silent sentinels of yesteryear. It is indeed these machines that have toiled endlessly, day and night unflinching and untiring in the face of overloading, primitive equipment, lack of facilities and even abuse. These retired relics from the past gave the Indian Railways a solid base upon which to build the massive system as it stands today.
It is important that we preserve some of these veterans, and document for forthcoming generations a record which will help them understand the complexities of the evolution of the formidable Indian Railways network that they see today. To give the retired relics the respect they rightfully deserve, and, if nothing else,to help the posterity in appreciating their heritage.
And this is what prompted the inauguration of the country's first Rail Transport Museum (now National Rail Museum) on Feb. 1, 1977.
Photo Credit: Mike Meyer
So, where do you want to go first? Select your destination from the links below.