Thursday, September 10, 2009

REGIONAL RAIL MUSEUM

At the end of what is arguably Chennai’s coolest avenue road – this runs parallel to the New Avadi Road from ICF junction to Nathamuni Theatre in Villivakkam, lies the not-so-heavily explored Regional Rail Museum. For the Anna Nagar folks, nothing else that has such a huge connection to India’s rich rail heritage and contemporary importance is on hand to spend a great couple of hours.

The giant Fowler Ploughing Engine stares you in the face as you enter, leaving you agape at the rich heritage strewn around on the exterior of the 6.25 acre RRM. Set up in 2002 as an initiative of the then Railway Minister to promote heritage consciousness and to supplement the National Rail Museum in New Delhi, the RRM at Chennai has taken its time to reach this level of collection.

The collection includes vintage locomotives of all kinds – steam, diesel and electric, and also all gauges. Of special interest to Chennai and certain to kindle bouts of pleasant nostalgia are the YAM1* metre gauge electric locos and the MG EMUs that not so long ago ruled the roost on the Madras Beach-Tambaram-Chengalpattu section. Also on display are some rare carriages of DHR, a dining car, a saloon car, locos like the YDMs*, WCM* etc.

The interiors comprise of photographs of the journey of ICF since its inauguration in 1955, various facilities at ICF and models of coaches manufactured at ICF. Wonderful and rare photographs, artifacts like weighing machine, station bells, hand signal lamps and the odd century old Service Register all jostle for space and the visitors’ attention. A special word about the wonderful photographs snapped by members of the Indian Railways Fan Club – they are simply amazing in their capture of the trains. You can even have a joy ride on the miniature train inside the campus.

At an entry fee of Rs.5/-, this place offers great value for money – where else can you learn so much for so little? The lack of publicity has been the bane of this place, but efforts are being made to inform public. “These days we have close to two hundred visitors a day on weekends and the same number on Tuesdays and Fridays which are visiting days for college students on factory visit”, informs Arun Devaraj, the Director of RRM. “We are making an effort to add more heritage artifacts and also show some short films that will make this visit more interactive”, he adds.

RRM is open to visitors from 10 am to 6 pm on all days, except Mondays. The trip down memory lane is not too far from your doorstep. More details at:

http://www.icf.gov.in/rrm/linkpage/contactus.htm

*For complete information on how Indian Railways classify locomotives, visit IRFCA - this is arguably the best repository on information about Indian Railways.



3 Comments:

Blogger Sampathkumar said...

Dear Joshi

Whilst on a drive back via Padi Jn, I saw this board Railway museum and was curious. But as it has been lost thought in the days that followed. Nice details provided. will visit one day

Regards - Sampathkumar

16:18  
Blogger Sampathkumar said...

Dear Joshi
No postings after this or am i not updated - Sampath

10:11  
Blogger naray said...

Dear Mr Joshi

Big thanks
I have been since 1963 and a member irfca since 2005.Yet I hear for the very very first time about the RRM. Due to age and disability I will find it difficult but some day I will visit and enjoy my favourite subject - 'the railway train'
Narayanan

17:20  

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