Friday, August 06, 2010
Due mainly to work committments and the energy sapping heat and humidity I haven't done anything recently worthy of blogging about.My efforts have had to concentrate on preparing a presentation for my peers and this has eaten into most of my free time.The recent weather with its regular forays into the high 30s exarcerbated by short,frequent cloudbursts has also done little to get me out of the house and exploring Shanghai.Still with a lull in the workload and a need to stretch my legs I travelled a few subway stops to the Shanghai Railway Museum near Baoshan Station.It's virtually around the corner from the station.The fact that theres a 100 ton or so locomotive parked in the front courtyard also makes it difficult to miss.
According to the nearby plaque the steam locomotive was a gift from the United Nations in 1947.While the train offers some photo oppurtunities as does the passenger coach behind it,once inside the museum there are notices advising that cameras can't be used.
The Museum is built on the original site of Shanghai Station and the building itself seems to be in the classical British architectural mode of public buildings.The Museum takes up the ground floor of the building and is divided into various sections.While the staff gave me an English language pamphlet there were few other labels or translations explaining what the exhibits were or their significance.
The Museum covers the 100 plus years of rail history since the 1860's.There is a model of the first locomotive and scale models of modern rolling stock and high speed trains as well as plans of existing stations and futuristic stations planned for the future.
There was a section devoted to the old picks and shovels and other manual tools used by the early construction crews which graphically showed what a backbreaking job it must have been.Other sections are given to uniforms,signalling equipment and the like.
The photo above shows a wheel assembly unit built in Sheffield,England.If you are'nt a railway buff you can probably get round the whole museum in less than twenty minutes.Having said that the place was teeming with kids who were taking turns on some of the interactive exhibits and seemed to be enjoying themselves looking at the scale models and other equipment on display.I happened to be at the Museum at the right time for a ride in their Simulation Locomotive.This was a computer simulation where you get to control and drive a modern high speed train just as a modern driver would with the aid of a computer program and screen.The children who piled into the driver's cab with me enjoyed their chance to drive 'the train' and sound its diesel horn under the supervision of the Museum staff.
The Museum entry was 10 yuan for adults.It is open on Tuesdays,Thursdays and Fridays.Check the Museum website for opening times(the morning opening hours are currently 9-11:30 am) and other details at www.museum.shrail.com.As I said it's not a must see and given the lack of English labels and translations even less appealing,but a pleasant diversion nonetheless.