Some of the steam-powered and diesel engines from the old railway era on display at the Nairobi Railway Museum. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 


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Ever wondered how trains avoided collisions in the pre-colonial era when technology was in its infancy?

The Railway Museum on Uhuru Highway Nairobi not only has answers to such questions, but is also home to the early locomotives.

To preserve the railway heritage, Mr Fred Jordan established the Nairobi Railway Museum in 1971 and served as the first curator.


Since then, the museum has been getting decomissioned trains or those out of service.

Notable trains in the collection include the 59 class, which was made in Manchester, England specifically for Kenya.

With a humongous engine weighing 252 tonnes, the 59 class was what the Bugatti Veyron is to cars at the moment.

With a top speed of 100 kilometres per hour and the ability to carry 1,200 tonnes of cargo, the power of the 59 class locomotive was unparalleled.

Nairobi Railway Museum

Artefacts on display at Nairobi Railway Museum. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Being the only one of its kind, it is no surprise that Unesco has nominated its engine to be a global monument.

The famous carriage, CH Ryall, whose workers were stalked, terrorised and hunted down by the man-eaters of Tsavo is also on display.


The carriage is named after a police superintendent who was devoured by the lions when he fell asleep while hunting them.

Apart from the trains, the museum has an exhibition room for artworks and four galleries dedicated to the railway.

Nairobi Railway Museum

The front entrance to the Nairobi Railway Museum. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The first gallery tells the history of railway construction in Kenya through pictures and collections.

Communication devices used in that era are in the second gallery and a marine section with ship models and ancient marine technology is housed in the third.


The fourth gallery is dedicated to the standard gauge railway and has models of its trains.

Nairobi Railway Museum

An inspector’s railway bicycle displayed at the Nairobi Railway Museum on June 1, 2019. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

According to Mr Elias Randiga, the museum’s curator, the place serves as a historical, educational and recreational centre due to its rich history, rare collections and a beautiful compound.

Celebrities Sauti Sol and Bahati using the location for some of their videos is a testament to this.

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