Miniature Railway Museum

My fascination with model railways goes back a long way. From the time I read in books about people setting up their own model railways in their lofts to when I grew older and heard of actual miniature villages with working models of trains running through them. Unfortunately, the nearest I could get to a miniature train was one going round and round in a track. Later, thanks to an aunt and uncle living in the US, I got a small train, which chugged around on a track, with a little fellow sliding into the train midway and then being dropped off at a tiny station. It kept me engaged for hours on end, and was my prized possession for many years until I finally had to part with it when I went to college. With the arrival of the internet, I discovered the joys of you tube, and enjoyed seeing miniature trains running over well laid out railway lines, amidst beautifully constructed houses and realistic looking scenery. Going abroad to see one of these didn’t seem very feasible, so I turned my energies to making my own small version, for our navaratri golus. It did help that by then, Samhith had also become interested, and had his own Thomas the Tank Engine sets to play with! Our set today can fill up the entire house, and with our Lego blocks, we can happily make our own version of cities and villages, and with the number of cars and animals we have, we even manage to bring a semblance of life to it. 

Our attempt at making a miniature city with a railway line running through it


Yet, I still dreamt of one day going abroad to see one of the miniature cities!



And then, searching through the internet for ideas for one of our golus, I stumbled across the website of a miniature railway enthusiast, who has set up his own miniature museum, of all places, in Pune,  which is barely 3 hours away! That the museum has been in existence from 1997 just made me feel more ignorant, and also rue the lack of marketing skills among us Indians! For the last 3 years, I have been trying to visit the museum, but with no success. In the same period, I visited Pune at least 5 or 6 times, and passed by the city numerous times, but for some reason or the other, wasn’t able to visit. At last, a couple of weeks back, my sister-in-law suddenly landed up, with some work in Pune, so I happily agreed to go along. Dropping her off  for her appointment, Samhith and I hurried over to the Joshi Miniature Railway Museum. As it turned off, we arrived at a slack time, and had the entire place to ourselves. We had to pay extra for the privilege, since they put up the show for a minimum of 4 people, and there were just 2 of us (and one a kid, so I can say 1 and a half) but it was absolutely worth it!!

Let me take you on a photographic journey through the museum....

This is what it looks like, at first glance....

There were so many things to see that Samhith wasnt sure what to look at first!!!

The railway station.....

With lots of trains waiting at the various platforms...

A tram...

An electric train...

And even a double decker train!!



A coal wagon... which works!

And a chimney which emits smoke!


The trains set out from the shed...

And are directed to the right track by a turntable


And a hot air ballon which rises during the show!



A cafe.. with lots of people...

And a waiting area for people near the railway station!



Another, smaller, station...

And an amusement park!!! with a circus too!!

You can see how interested Samhith is, in the amusement park!

Another view..


A roller coaster ride.. which works!

A roundabout too!

A Giant Wheel and a revolving restaurant, which also goes up and down!!
Another view of the circus and amusement park..


The circus looked great, but we were stunned when the big top lifted....

And we could see the acrobats inside!!

And then it lifted again, and inside were the Ringmasters!!

The circus had its own zoo too!!


There was a swimming pool nearby

The mountains and bridges were what interested us the most!! and the woman you can see is the one who operated the whole thing!

This tiny train is among the smallest miniature trains in the world!

There was also a screen... an open air theatre! Anyone remember the one in Bombay?

There were other vehicles too.. such as this Funicular railway going up the mountain.. and can u see a blurred red cable car? 

Tunnels have always been the favourite part of any railway journey for us, and seeing them here was a  bonus too!

The mountain had a castle

And mountaineers!!

The other side of the tunnels

And more mountaineers

There was a mountain lake.. with a boat and ducks!

And another small railway station.

A tiny train with its own turntable!

Bridges and water tanks...

And also campers!

When the tube light was turned off, and tiny lights switched on inside, it really looked like a lit up city!

And finally, here is Samhith, with the whole set up, which is just in one small room! It is set on a turn table, which allows us to see the different parts of the miniature city!
Whether or not you are a railway enthusiast, this is one museum which I am sure most of you... and your kids... will enjoy! It appears to be the only one of its kind in India. It might not even be of the same quality as those abroad, but it is only when you set out to make something like this do you realize the constraints we face. It is not just the finance, but also the materials and space that poses a problem for us.  Apart from that, a great deal of knowledge about trains as well as other machines is needed, and that is not something all of us have!This museum grew out of a personal interest and years and years of hard work, so it is something that must indeed be appreciated. So, if you are ever in Pune, do drop in and take a look. I am sure you will come out with a smile on your face!

For further details about the museum, please visit their website:  http://www.minirailways.com/

Comments

  1. Wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing with us.

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  2. Splendid! My grown up son has spent couple of hours watching the miniatures.

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    1. Thanks so much, PNS!! I am so happy to hear your son liked it too.. you should go there whenever u are in the vicinity

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  3. That's a must visit place in Pune, Anu! Didn't know about it. Bookmarked it!!
    Thanks.

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    1. Thanks Nisha! Good to hear that I told you about a place you didnt know :D am sure you will enjoy it!

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  4. I'm bowled over, What a creation and with each and every fine details captured and thanks for bringing it to us!

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    1. Thanks Santosh!! The details are absolutely amazing.. it was truly worth a visit!

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  5. There's so much detailing! Liked the fact that they even included the circus. I also just looked at the website link you've included here. It seems like such an interesting initiative.

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    1. Yes, Kiran! they have taken lots of pains and done such a huge amount of detailing to make it interesting!

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  6. Amazing stuff..... Ashamed of myself, to sometimes think, that I have taken lot of pains to keep my golu... HUMBLED is the word...

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    1. Absolutely, Madhu!!! thats just how I felt too!!

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  7. Amazed by how beautifully you have captured the detalis with your camera. Kudos !
    I visited this place when I was there 6 months back, and was very impressed too. Meanwhile sharing a similar post on my blog, about a model village near London - http://spinningmemories.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/bekonscot-model-village.html

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    1. Thanks so much, Spinning Memories!! I have heard of the Bekonscot model village. wonder if i will ever be able to visit it though!! but thanks to your blog, at least i have been able to take a nice long look!!!

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  8. WOWOWOWOWOOW I have no words !! Thanks for asking me to read it, I loved it
    was indulged in every bit of it, Did u took video ? I would like to see that.

    THis is amazing, more so that it is present in India ! wow and the circus tent going up and down is classy. Kudos to the guy who did it !

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    1. I kept thinking of you, Sri, and remembering our conversations for that first grand navaratri golu of mine!! i had heard of this before, but had no idea it was so good.. and i didnt take a video, but they sell a video, so bought it instead.. didnt want to upload the entire thing. but if u are ever in mumbai, come home, and i will show you.. or even better take you to pune so we can both enjoy it!!

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  9. I am a great fan of these miniature things. Next time I in Pune, I will attempt to go there. Thank you for this wonderful post.

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    1. Thanks, Shalu! I am sure you will enjoy it! do let me know about your expereince too!

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  10. Thanks Anu Jee for sharing when I visit I will visit this because I and My daughter Aarya are great rail fans . good pictures.

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    1. Thanks Vishal!! Hope you can go there soon!

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  11. How fun!! I'm so glad you shared a link to this post today, or I'd have missed it! What a realistic, detailed, fantastic miniature railway! Whomever put this together was VERY creative. I especially love the hot air balloon, Ferris wheel and roller coaster - and, like you, the tunnels! But the whole thing is amazing. And so pretty illuminated "at night!" :-)

    My uncle is a lifelong miniature train enthusiast who had an elaborate railroad set up in his basement (it took over the basement, actually!), and I thought it was such fun when I was a kid and we'd visit my aunt and uncle. And all my male Italian relatives on my Mom's side (except my grandfather, for some reason!) worked for the Great Northern Railroad up in Havre, Montana. So I enjoyed this post even more!

    Samhith is a cutie!

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    1. Thanks so much, Laloofah!! Its a brilliant effort, and all the more so because its the only one of its kind in India..There are so many in Europe, and till recently, we couldnt even get railway sets here in India. Its so wonderful to think that your uncle had one in his basement!!! I remember reading about such things in books when I was a kid, but we couldnt even go to see something like it, much less buy and set one up!!! even now, while my son has miniature railway sets, we dont have the space to set it up permanently, so we can only set it up and dismantle it, which is sad!

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  12. Wow... I can't even begin to fathom the amount of effort that's gone into the construction of these miniatures. Thank you for sharing this.

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    1. Thanks Manasi! Its a great effort indeed, which is why we loved it so much!

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  13. Its now been years to visit Railway Museum.. & now again I tempted to visit it..!! coming Soon Sir..!!

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  14. Thanks for sharing this post. Actually I am the hobbyist of railroad modeling and doing lot in Last three years but not having the enough space and the money to do more in this hobby. I am the only person in Bhopal (MP) creating Layout in HO scale and also in N scale. All the layout made by local available materials. That is scratch built. Thanks again.

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  15. I am also passionate about miniature models, specially of trains. I did make a few while I was in school and they came out to be good. I have been to Joshi museum and it is a very good attempt by an hobbyist to provide such an experience. I guess children or hobbyist in India are deprived of such experiences. You need to see on you tube wonderland in Hamburg. I huge miniature city. Then you have steam locomotives also. I dream of starting such a project. The dream stage has moved to conviction of achieving it. I am working on creating a miniature museum which I should be able to evolve into a miniature city. I am open to people joining me as partners. Funding is key to this and I will be trying to get funding through possible sources.

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    1. Hi Shiv,
      Came across this blog and your comment today. Still interested in this museum idea?
      Let me know. You can reach me at mangesh18 at yahoo.com

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