A visit to the Nairobi National Railway Museum is a journey through time. It takes you to the heart of Kenya’s early development history.
The museum highlights the construction and use of the Kenya railway-lunatic line.
The Kenya-Uganda railway construction opened Kenya to enormous economic and social gains.
Nairobi City which is also the Capital of Kenya was born out of the construction of the lunatic line.
There’s the main gallery that houses the small stuff and accessories. These made up the rail line in its early days.
It’s these little stuff that let you into the history of the day to day construction and use of the railway line.
The construction plans, pictures, and used items, all take you back in time.
In the exhibition are queen's special seats. These were used by Queen
Elizabeth in her railroad travel in Kenya.
You can also view more stuff and the state coach used by the queen on making a prior request.
A walk through the main gallery gives you a glimpse into a time that you probably never experienced.
It’s a time to reminisce in the memories
of the past. For those who might have been lucky to use the lunatic line in
it’s hey days.
These Man eaters are renowned for their notorious behavior of often feasting on humans.
The Man eaters almost made it impossible for the railroad construction to go on.
There are three claws at the gallery from one of the man eaters of Tsavo.
You need to ask the attendant to show them to you.
The outdoor locomotives exhibition has numerous locomotives, coaches, and wagons. They all have a story to tell in the history of national railway life in Kenya, and East Africa in general.
Getting into the outdoors train exhibition section is like stepping into an antiquated scene of a classic movie. Especially once you step inside the locomotives and begin to get the hang of it.
One of the locomotives in exhibition was used in the famous Karen Blixen’s Out Of Africa movie. It was adapted from her book bearing the same title. Karen used her pen name, Isak Dinesen in writing the book.
Another highlight of the outdoors exhibition is the coach where Charles Ryall, was dragged from by a Man Eater in the year 1900.
The railroad line is commonly referred to
as the lunatic line. This is due to the remarks of
a politician on the escalating costs of constructing the rail line. The
construction also cost many human lives.
Another feature of the national railway museum is the resource
centre. This can be useful to
you interested in the detailed writings, and audio visual historical evidence.
There’s a fascinating history of the construction and use of the lunatic line.
And it makes it worth your visit to the National Railway Museum.
My visit to the railroad museum reminded me of my earlier days as a young boy.
My grandpa used to work for the Kenya Railways. I remember the many times that my elder brother Tony and I would visit him in Karatina train station.
It was always fascinating to see trains come to the station. This was occasioned by all the loud sound and steam that came with them. One captivating bit was seeing them refilled with water.
I had a chat with the Nairobi National Railway Museum Curator Maurice Barasa. And I learnt there are three operating steam engines under lock and key.
These are some of the best that were used in the world in the Victorian age. And they are available to hire for Kenya Safaris.
The Nairobi Railway Museum Art Gallery greatly adds to your visit if you are one that values art. The art gallery was started in the year 2012.
This is a collaboration of Kenya Railways Corporation and a group of Kenyan artists called Educultural Artists Kenya (ECAK).
The gallery hosts exhibitions by both established and upcoming artists.
Other uses of the museum are hiring the space for photo shoots or recording of music videos and movies too. There’s an auditorium for hire too.
The Nairobi National Railway Museum is located a few hundred metres to the Kenya Railways headquarters in Nairobi.
The railroad museum is open daily throughout the year.