Hidden Treasure: Railway Museum of Kenya

I walk past the dusty corner of the junction between the Technical University of Kenya and the Railway station. I stop by to ask a motorbike guy for directions to the Railway museum. Few minutes of walking and searching leads me to a serene corner full of Jacaranda trees that have shed their leaves. The compound is filled with the purple angelic leaves, which the wind swayed in a graceful manner.

At the gate, I meet a lady guard who warms up to me when I said Hi to her in a jovial demeanor. She hands me a book where I filled in my details and then she pointed towards a route that seemed to lead to a dead end. I figured such treasure must indeed be so hidden.

It took me 5 minutes to get to the reception area. On my way, I passed by a lot of graffiti work done by the artists at the museum. Each of them expressing a certain emotion. I didn’t expect to come across such piece of art in a place where ‘rusty metals’ and old artifacts were kept I presumed.

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Graffiti

I got to the reception where I paid an entrance fee of 100 shillings (Citizen &Student). While a citizen pays 150  shillings. Residents pay up to 300 while non-residents pay 500-600 shillings.

After getting a receipt I made my way to the art gallery. I found some young guys working on their art pieces. Speaking to one of them who asked me not to mention his name, the art gallery is one and half years old. They sell their art pieces to any interested party. The interesting part is that most Kenyans have started appreciating artwork like drawings and paintings which are most of the time considered as a hobby in Kenya he said.

Next, I got just in time to the gallery room where Prehistorical artifacts are kept. The guide had a dozen of kids from a school in Nairobi who had come for a visit to the museum. I was awed by how the kids had knowledge about the railway. Come to think of it, some even talked about how the Government wants the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) to pass through the Nairobi National Park. I reflected back to when I was there age, I wasn’t that badly off because I always wanted to know what’s happening around me. But do I say.

One important thing I learned about the train rails is the difference between the meter gauge rail and the Standard Gauge rail. The meter gauge rail is 1.4m apart and operates at a ground level while the Standard gauge rail passes on a higher level of about 4.3km. The gap between its rails is 1.43m that makes the train more stable.

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Meter Gauge Rail

I also got to see the oldest train built in 1900 that starred in the movie called Out of Africa which featured a lady called Karen Blixen whom after which the Karen Blixen Museum was named.

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Oldest train built in 1900.

I also learned about a train named Karamoja which the British used to please the communities of the time; the Karamanjo’, whom they were in conflict with. Karamanjo’ is a group of Nilotic people found in both Kenya and Uganda.

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There is a lot to learn about the railway system in Kenya especially with the emergence of Standard Gauge Railway which will be launched next year. The reason why It’s called Standard is because it is standard worldwide (Just a by the way).

Here are some more pictures I took while at the Nairobi Railway Museum.

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I have also uploaded a video on YouTube to help you learn more about this precious hidden Treasure in the midst of a busy city.

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Below is the link to the YouTube video:

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