RAILWAYS Heritage Museum

A Journey Into The Past

By Jamil Khan

HEY guys, are you among those who are interested in historical places and often visit different museums? If so, let’s take a tour of one of the unique places in our country — Pakistan Railways Heritage Museum — it will give you a glance into the history of railway covering a period of more than past 100 years.
The museum at Golra Sharif Railway Station, some 1994-feet above sea level, was established by Pakistan Railways in September 2004 and formally inaugurated by President General Pervez Musharraf on March 31, 2007.
The station is located in the southeast of the Margalla Hills and is approximately 10-minute drive from the twin cities of Islamabad and Ralwalpindi. It is also just 17 kilometres away from the ancient city of Taxila, the cradle of Ghandahara civilisation. The station was established in 1882 and advanced as a junction in 1912 to extend a link for some of the major cities in the North West Frontier Province like Peshawar, Kohat and Havalian.
The museum which spreads on entire station presents a serene atmosphere and reminds one of the good old days when most people relied on trains to travel. The building has been divided into two portions — a museum and an office. The Victorian style building which was constructed in 1882 shows the simple but attractive façade and is covered by decades old banyan trees. The large trees not only add beauty to the entire area but also provide shade to the visitors especially in the hot summer days of June and July.
Those who visit the museum first encounter 100 historical black ‘n’ white pictures on the outer walls of the platform which date back to 1886. The pictures show the various development stages of North West Railways (Pakistan Railways was known by this name before the partition) and dignitaries who visited this part of the world and appraised the service under the British government.
After viewing the pictures, I visited the museum, where hundreds of rare items were on display including miniature models of steam engines, kerosene tilly-lamps, gate signal lamps, crockery, arms and ammunitions, surgical items used at railway hospitals, long-arm chairs and many more things which are worth seeing by anyone.
The walls and roof of the museum, decorated with wall clocks, pendulums, rare colourful sketches and hundred-year-old ceiling fans were giving a fragrance of the past.
Furthermore, the surroundings of the building consisted of many other precious objects related to the railways including the hand-crane, 100-year-old hand pump to supply water, 110-year-old narrow gauge steam locomotive, steam cranes, saloons and passenger and freight coaches. Beside this, a two-wheel stretcher from the railways medical unit, models of different locomotives are also on display outside the museum.
Mirza Ghazanfar Ali, Station Master of Golra told this writer that tourists from different parts of the world especially from UK, visit this heritage museum very frequently. “During winter season, the number of visitors reaches the peak and sometime it becomes difficult to facilitate all at once,” he added.
He also mentioned that there are various programmes in the pipeline to improve the surroundings of the museum which will not only attract more visitors but the facilities provided here will become a trademark of this platform.
The station master further explained that the Pakistan Railways had started the steam engine ride for tourists on weekly basis but for the last three months the safari ride had been running only once a month.
-Published in Young World-Dawn | Oct 6, 2007



One Response to “RAILWAYS Heritage Museum”

  1. very impressive. a must do on my list for future visit to isloo.

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