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Nagpur's Rail Museum keeps heritage on track
The 'epic era' of India's transformation in transportation field has some special moments which have been preserved by rail museums around the country. Orange City has also got a share of some of these special moments with Nagpurians telling the unique story of the history of Indian rail.

IT WAS April 16, 1853 when India started its own train from Bombay to Thane. It took nearly about an hour to travel 34 km from Bombay to Thane. And look at the situation now, even Mumbai locals travel with the speed of 100 kmph and has become a lifeline of Mumbaikars.

But that 'epic era' of India's transformation in transportation field has some special moments which have been preserved by rail museums around the country. Orange City has also got a share of some of these special moments with Nagpurians telling the unique story of the history of Indian rail.

The Narrow Gauge Rail Museum carries the history of Indian rails on tracks, where one can feel the bliss of watching process of transformation in the transportation. The museum was inaugurated in December 2002 by the then Minister of Railways Nitish Kumar, on the occasion of 150th anniversary of Indian Railways. The museum houses precious Narrow Gauge (NG) rolling stocks like Bangall Steam Engine made in 1916, NG Steam Crane of 1956, CC class steam engine built at North British Locomotive Co-operative Limited, Glasgow of 1907, 110-year-old NG saloon used by royalties of Parlakimedi state.

“Various other heritage rolling stocks like postal van, tank wagon and different types of narrow gauge coaches and wagon stocks are also kept in yard,” says Newar Kumar, manager of the museum. Talking about the treasures available in the museum, Newar says, “Some of the parts of rails and literature related to rails are very rare, which we have preserved specifically. I wanted children and people to know about this special collection. Therefore, I have organised various programmes in which participation of students has been the main task.”

Further he highlights that expansion of park with various amusement toys is needed to attract children. Explaining about the sections of museum, he informs that there are locomotives, coaches and wagons, signal and telecom, electrical and commercials sections, which inform about heritage prominently.

Locomotive section defines the parts used in narrow gauge rails, while coaches and wagons explain the types of trains, signal and telecom describe the upgradation in communication means used in Railways. While electrical and commercials sections are useful for engineers who want to study railway heritage. There are working models of trains, builder plates of rolling stock and logos of different state railways which are interesting exhibits for children.

Newar specifically highlights the amusement park which has a toy train as the centre of attraction. The joy ride is for both adults and children. This train travels through beautiful landscape and gardens. He also adds that the annual turnover of the museum is around Rs 10 lakh, but he wants to upgrade it. The Narrow Gauge Rail Museum is a pride of the Orange City, which awaits better response from Nagpurians than it is getting now. On the other hand, Nagpurians are also waiting for the revolving restaurant to start so that they can enjoy a feast in a unique ambiance.

'Kasto mazaa hai lelaima ramailo o kaali odhali...'. This memorable song from the movie, 'Parineeta' has some special connection with the Orange City. Yes, you may be surprised to know that the Tenzing Norgay train in which the song has been shot was refurbished at the South East Central Railway's Motibagh Workshop at Nagpur. And the mini model of the same has been displayed at the Narrow Gauge Rail Museum, Nagpur. The train, named after Tenzing Norgay, was built at the Narrow Gauge Motibagh Workshop of SECR at Nagpur.

While meticulous attention was given to details during manufacturing of the dining car, planning and monitoring was done at the highest level. Parts of the train were sent to Motibagh Workshop from Darjeeling. Expert old railway hands at the workshop gave shape to this dream. The process was supervised here in the Motibagh Station by Kumar Newar, who is presently working as Manager of Narrow Gauge Rail Museum. The name of the train was a tribute to Tenzing Norgay - the legendary mountaineer who scaled the Mount Everest, informs Newar.

Not only this, but the Rail museum has also added another feather to the cap of Orange City by registering name in the India Book of Records for a revolving restaurant in 2012. Artistically refurbished narrow gauge coaches kept turn-table rotated automatically by motors. But in what can be termed as hard luck of Nagpurians, this unique restaurant is nowadays waiting for a caterer to serve citizens.

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