About 90 Kms from New Delhi lies the bustling town of Rewari, home to traditional metal works, especially brass. Rewari is also home to the erstwhile Rewari Steam Locomotive Shed converted into Rewari Railway Heritage Museum in 2010.
Rewari Railway Heritage Museum is the last surviving functional steam locomotive shed in India. It is permanent home to the last of the functional steam locomotives in India, namely Akbar WP1761, Shahanshah WP/P and the 1855 Fairy Queen. It has a total of 11 steam locomotives.
Mystery behind the no camera use rule
(Non Photographers please excuse this rant)
If you are carrying a camera or any such photography equipment like stand, you will be stopped at the gate. This place is home to some secretive cutting edge railway technology. But no warning signs or logic to suggest otherwise. Some railway babu does not want the designs of steam engine to be leaked it to their corporate rivals. After all Indian Railways need to stay way ahead of their competitors. Mobile phone photography in all forms is allowed. Also note there is no place to keep your photography equipment. So you have to leave it behind in your car.
What you see, is what you might get
There are the following attractions at the Steam Heritage Shed, Rewari.
- Fully functional steam locomotive shed along with the necessary infrastructure
- Ancillaries like tool room, coal storage, workshop, etc
- Dining car and saloon with double bed
- Officers rest house converted to a guestroom
- Exhibit room and museum of artifacts
- Three different simulator rooms, engine, passenger coach and steam maintenance
- Toy train for ride purpose
- Toy train for display purpose
- Turn Table
- Magnificent Steam Engines
- Cafeteria and souvenir shop
The wow part and the agonies
As you enter the museum premises, you are impressed by the way this thing has been put together with so much effort and detailing. Landscaping and maintenance is spot on. Dedicated staff keeps this place spotless clean. After you are recovering from the ban on photography equipment, you realized that there is a parking space for visitors, but parking is not allowed.
As you are looking around, waiting for something to happen there goes a few minutes till you and the staff are staring at each other wondering who makes the first move. It is not easy to identify the staff as they are dressed up as visitors. Ideally you need a guide at the entrance to conduct visitors in batches. But you will be asked to navigate your way around.
First comes the movie show. One hour documentary gives an insight into the creating of this museum and its facilities. The movie also reveals that some exhibits and rooms are closed. The saloon and dining car is not open for visitors. Only the Fairy Queen is started, that too perhaps on a Saturday. But there is no schedule publicized. There is no one to show at least one of the vintage steam engines even if it not fired up. Metal rusting on the engine itself and lack of repairs suggest neglect.
Simulator rooms are well maintained and enjoyed by the children. The charts and pictures hang on walls and evoke a feeling of nostalgia. There is a overload of information which will interest a lot of people because running a steam engine involved lots of brute engineering and manual work.
Location of Railway Heritage Museum
The place is most prominent landmarks of Rewari. Also it is part of the railway station. There are signboards on the road leading to the museum. Also it is prominently marked on Google Maps. The approach road for the last few kms is bad.
The last word
A drive close to four hours on a beautiful highway itself is pleasure. Plus the anticipation of seeing black beauties of yesteryears is exhilarating. Children will love to see the museum as a whole. Fortunately they allow to get close to the engines and explore them. For engineering students and geeks, this is a must visit place. But you need to prod the staff to tell you more. Otherwise they stay in a sedated state. The cafeteria and conveniences are top notch and well maintained. Definitely worth a visit, but you should be ready for surprises.