Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Chennai Rail Museum

Two days of work in the city got me travelling through New Avadi Road. On the way back home, I noticed something new that I have not seen so far. Interesting pieces of artistic sculpture made out of metal parts erected in the area earmarked for garden along the left side of the road, in front of the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) Furnishing Division, right from the junction of Gandhi Nagar up to the entrance of the Chennai Rail Museum. Curious, I surfed the net and found out that these are the creations of popular artists, drawn together at the time of ICF’s Golden Jubilee celebrations, to make something(s) creative out of the tons and tons of steel (real, no pun here) scrap the factory had accumulated. I also came to know that the Rail Museum had been given a facelift, and decided to while my available time away there.

  Chennai Rail Museum 

 I reached the museum around 11.15, assuming I would spend an hour or a little more. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 am till 5.30 p.m. It is closed on Mondays and National Holidays. Entry ticket is Rs.50 for an adult, and I think it is Rs.20 for children - I do not remember it correctly. Mobile phone cameras are allowed free; digicams are charged Rs.100 per camera. There is also an art gallery, for which a separate ticket needs to be purchased (Rs.20), and no photography is allowed there. I thought the museum would be almost empty, today being a weekday. On the contrary, I found several groups of children from various schools in Chennai thronging at the gates. Looking at the gate, I could spot at least eight to ten school buses neatly parked out by the garden side. I had to slowly amble along, finding my way through brief openings allowed by the caretakers of the children. The Chennai Rail Museum has a good collection to enthrall all sections of people - half tickets, full tickets and concession holders (I mean children, adults and senior citizens). The children would be attracted by the toy train, working miniature models and the play area, the youngsters by the pace ICF is keeping with technology, and the elders by the exhibits of bygone era, taking them back to their younger days.

Chennai Rail Museum Chennai Rail Museum Chennai Rail Museum 

 The addition of creative art made by renowned artists from scrap material is a very interesting concept. For those with an artistic bent of mind, it gives enough time to leisurely go through the twenty-odd pieces neatly spaced out in and around the furnishing division, with no restriction on time or space. 

  Chennai Rail Museum Chennai Rail Museum 

 Gauging my interest in photography, the person in charge of the art gallery gave me permission to click,with a request not to make commercial use of it. Therefore, I have taken only a very few shots there, and have posted them along with other photos at my Flickr site - Feel free to browse. I will be happy to have your feedback and comments there. Railways and ICF need to be appreciated for sparing a portion of their workspace, time and thoughts to actively engage the public of all age group with a novel idea such as the Rail Museum.


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