By Mahesh Parekh,Secretary SIPA

A philatelic exhibition is being organized at Rail Museum Chennai with collaboration of South India Philatelist’s Association (SIPA). Main themes covered under the exhibition are Railway, Gandhi, Scouting, Butterflies, Olympic, Maximaphily, UNESCO world heritage sites and unusual stamps. The exhibition was inaugurated on 3rd March 2019 and it will continues till 11th March.

The Chennai Rail Museum is a railway museum in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, which has a rich rail heritage of India. The museum was opened on the 16 April 2002 on the premises of the Furnishing Division of Integral Coach Factory near Villivakkam. It is located in over 6.25 acres of land with the host of both technical and heritage exhibits with a sizable collection of steam engines belonging to various decades of the British Raj. The museum also exhibits various vintage coaches such as Ooty trains endemic to the Indian railways. Most of the older models were manufactured by the North British Locomotive Company and some of the collection dates back more than one hundred years as it covers the railway history of South India. The museum covers an area of 6.5 acres and has two galleries, a host of outdoor heritage exhibits dating from the 1800s, a toy train that takes visitors around the premises, and a playground.

Mahesh Parekh with his father Balakrishandas ji

The museum’s collection includes both indoor and outdoor exhibits. The indoor galleries include various photographs detailing the early years of Integral Coach Factory and the Indian Railways. The museum also houses a working scale model of trains and rare artifacts from the colonial days.

This will be where new exhibits, planned for the museum’s second decade, will be located. There is also an opportunity to view a video about Neal’s ball token system, which was used for signalling between trains and a coach in which Gandhi travelled.

There are more than 40 different models of trains. An 1895 model of the Fowler steam ploughing engine made by John Fowler for agricultural purposes and 1860s Double Decker coaches are some of the recognizable coaches displayed in the museum. The models also include Coaches of Inspection car RA 30 made by Metropolitan Carriage and Finance Co. Ltd., Crane Hercules (used for emergency relief) and luxury trains coaches. Almost all coaches in the museum are accessible to visitors.

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