Railway Museum: A slice of history

Written by Akshay Kumar | Mumbai | Updated: May 9 2014, 01:02am hrs
RaIndian Railways is regarded as one of the busiest railways around the globe.
Indian Railways is regarded as one of the busiest railways around the globe. Each day millions of commuters rely on the railways for local commuting or for tourism purpose. As the history goes, the first train was was flagged off between Bombay (now Mumbai) to Thane in 1853. While this fact is known to many Indians, what most people do not know is that the current ticketing counter at the Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus(CST) is known as the Star Chamber which has actual gold linings.

To protect the history of the railways, Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus has protected many of the artifacts and equipments from the past in a small museum which was opened in 2010, located on the ground floor. This museum has guided tours where one can find all the minute details of how the Indian Railways was established. The tour commences with the visit to the museum, starting with a miniature model of the Great Indian Peninsula Railway at the entrance. Inside the museum one can check out the collection of old classic telephones, drawing and artwork pictures of old Mumbais Indian Peninsular Railway and CST building, an old fan with four wings, the clock which used to be displayed at various stations, bells, signal instruments. Besides the stairway of the building is located some ancient crockery and utilities used by railway officers since 1888 when this UNESCO certified building was made.

The highlights of the museum are the brass bell which was installed in 1866 at Neral Railway Station, the miniature model of the first train which was flagged off, and the ticketing machines of the British era. The tour then continues to the recently opened Star Chamber, this is located on the first floor of the Gothic structure where they have displayed all the original blue prints of the planning of Victoria Terminus, designed by the Frederick William Stevens, the architect of many Gothic style Victoria Terminus. The ceiling of the Star Chamber has hundreds of stars embedded, painted in red vegetable dye and studded with little stars which has real gold in it. The tour ends with a hot piping 'Kullad chai' at the small restroom built for the tourists.

When asked about the tourism footfall of the museum the tour guide exclaimed that many foreign tourists do visit the museum.