York’s Railway Museum is impressive, but the National Rail Museum in Chanakyapuri is a real testament to the Age of Steam. There are dozens of steam locomotives, lovingly restored and parked in sidings. I was in anorak heaven.
When I asked for my ticket to be punched at the entry gate, the clerk looked at me in dismay. “Why don’t you want a ticket for the Toy Train ride? It’s very popular.” What the hell, I thought, I should go for the whole rail experience, and I coughed up another 50 rupees. I couldn’t make the excuse that I had to accompany a child. I was on my own.
I had a great time wandering around the old locomotives, taking photographs. There were signs warning of dire consequences if people climbed aboard the driver’s cab, but no one seemed to be taking any notice.
There are some historic engines here. F-734 was the first loco to be built in India, in 1895 at the Ajmer works. It features Stephenson valve gear and internal connecting rods.
There is the Patiala State Monorail, which could also run on tarmac. It was built in Germany before World War 1, and four engines were imported to India for £500 each.
The indoor museum is less interesting. Oh, and the toy train ride was fun. Especially when we went into a tunnel, and all the kids screamed with excitement.