Top 8 Railway Museums in China

While there’s a lot to be said for travel in China by high speed train, visiting the historical train museums is a truly extraordinary experience for train lovers and rail enthusiasts. Initially established in late Qing Dynasty around 1876-1911, China today has 141,400 kilometers of railways in service, including 36,000 kilometers of high-speed railways, ranking first in the world. By exploring China’s railway museums, you’ll open yourself up to the history of China railway, and discover China’s earliest steam locomotives, railway engines, as well as the historical railway stations. Let’s get acquainted with top 8 train/railway museums in China, and see what “precious” they’ve kept for display.

1. China Railway Museum (中国铁道博物馆)

China Railway Museum

Address: 1 Jiuxianqiao North Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China

Opening hours: 09:00-17:00 (closed on Monday)

Ticket price: RMB20

What to see: "0" steam locomotive, KF1-006 locomotive, "Mao Zedong" steam locomotive

The China Railway Museum, formerly known as the Science and Technology Museum of the Ministry of Railways, was established in 1978. Its main task is to collect, store, display, edit and research exhibits such as railway cultural relics and scientific research achievements. The China Railway Museum has three pavilions: Zhengyangmen Exhibition Hall, Dongjiao Exhibition Hall and Zhan Tianyou Memorial Hall.

The Locomotive and Rolling Stock Room of Dongjiao Exhibition Hall gathered and exhibited more than 100 sets of locomotive and rolling stock of different periods, types and systems of Chinese railways. Among all the relics, "0" steam locomotive, the earliest extant locomotive in China, the "Mao Zedong" and "Zhu De" locomotives named after the revolutionary leaders, are regarded as the "treasures" of Chinese railway relics.

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  • 2. Shanghai Railway Museum (上海铁路博物馆)

    Shanghai Railway Museum

    Address: 200 Tianmu East Road, Jing 'an District, Shanghai, China

    Opening hours: 09:00-11:00, 14:00-16:30 (closed on Monday)

    Ticket price: RMB10

    What to see: SN26 locomotive

    Shanghai Railway Museum shows the history of Shanghai and East China Railway over the past 100 years after the railway was introduced into China in the 1860s and 1870s. The museum is divided into six parts, with more than 50 items and nearly 1,000 exhibits. There are precious old railway equipment, old equipment and historical pictures. Discover yourself the boundary markers erected when the Shanghai-Hangzhou Railway was built in the late Qing Dynasty, the steel rails made in the 1890s, the early train schedules, signal lights, the old steam engines built in the 1920s and 1940s, and the railway boxes of the Republic of China (1912-1949), etc.

    3. Shenyang Railway Exhibition Hall (沈阳铁路陈列馆)

    Shenyang Railway Exhibition Hall

    Address: 8 Shandan St, Sujiatun District, Shenyang, Liaoning, China

    Opening hours: 09:00-16:00 (closed on Monday & Sunday)

    Ticket price: RMB50

    What to see: the locomotives in different four ages

    Shenyang Railway Exhibition Hall is the largest railway exhibition hall in Northeast China. It records the changes of the Northeast China Railway spanning over one hundred years from 1891, when the Qing government built the railway outside the Pass.

    In the exhibition hall, the old locomotives made in United States in 1907 is the most attractive one. It’s speed was only 55 kilometers per hour, and retired in 1984 after 77 years of service.

    In addition, there are 28 steam locomotives, diesel locomotives and electric locomotives displayed in the museum. In addition to the first steam locomotive made in the United States, there are also trucks made in the former Soviet Union in 1911.

    4. Harbin Railway Museum (哈尔滨铁路博物馆)

    Harbin Railway Museum

    Address: 86 Xidazhi Street, Nangang District, Harbin, Heilongjiang, China

    Opening hours: 09:00-11:00, 14:00-16:00 (closed on Monday, and Thursday afternoon)

    Ticket price: free

    What to see: century-old rail, locomotives

    The former Middle East Railway Club, Harbin Railway Museum has witnessed the development of Harbin Railway and China Railway in the past 100 years. There are century-old rails built in 1894, 1896, 1900, 1903, 1904, 1917, 1928, 1932, 1938, 1942, and two century-old steel sleeper made in 1900. More on display include century-old railway station with historical architecture, Steam locomotive construction, “Mao Zedong” locomotive, “Zhu De” locomotive, the NO.3005 Secret Ammunition Train, etc.

    5. Yunnan Railway Museum (云南铁路博物馆)

    Yunnan Railway Museum

    Address: North Railway Station, 913 Beijing Road, Panlong District, Kunming, Yunnan, China

    Opening hours: 09:00-16:00 (closed on Monday and Tuesday)

    Ticket price: RMB 10

    What to see: meter-gauge dongfanghong 21 type internal locomotive, locomotive crank pin processing machine

    Opened in 2004, Yunnan Railway Museum mainly showcases the development history of Kunming railway, with the special relics of the meter-gauge railway.

    The museum consists of the South Hall and the North Hall. The South Hall is based on the century-old French classical building of "Yunnan Fu Station" on the Yunnan-Vietnam Railway, While the North Hall is a modern building extracted from the elements of the high-speed railway passenger station. A railway steel bridge connects the two halls.Main railway relics include SN Type 29 inch track steam locomotive, Inch rail luggage mail car, Quasi-rail Dongfeng Type 1 No. 2058 diesel locomotive, MK51 Meter gauge steam locomotive, KD55 meter gauge steam locomotive, Michelin" passenger carrier rubber wheel internal combustion EMU, etc.

    6. Hong Kong Railway Museum (香港铁路博物馆)

    Hong Kong Railway Museum

    Address: 13 Shung Tak Street, Tai Po Market, Tai Po, Hong Kong

    Opening hours: 10:00-18:00 (closed on Tuesday & Sunday)

    Ticket price: free

    What to see: Steam locomotive, No. 51 diesel electric locomotive

    Dedicated to the history of the Kowloon-Canton Railway, Hong Kong Railway Museum is a unique Chinese-style gold-roofed building built in 1913. The museum displays pictures of railway historical materials, railway equipment and model trains. The museum also retains a section of the old railway and turnouts, the old arm pull signal machine, the old locomotives and vehicles.

    The museum preserves six historical trucks, one manual and one motorized engineering vehicle. The narrow-gauge steam locomotive used on the Sha Tau Kok Spur Line was put into the museum in 1997, and the first diesel locomotive introduced by KCRC in 1955, named Sir Alexander No. 51, was added in 2004.

    7. JiaoJi Railway Museum (胶济铁路博物馆)

    JiaoJi Railway Museum

    Address: Inside the Jinan Railway Education Base, 30-1 Jingyi Road, Jinan City, Shandong Province

    Opening hours: 08:30-11:00, 14:00-17:00 (closed on weekend)

    Ticket price: free

    What to see: 0616 steam locomotive

    The Jiaoji Railway starts from Qingdao in the east and ends Jinan in the west, covering a total distance of 395 kilometers. It is the earliest railway in Shandong and one of the earliest railways in China. Jiaoji Railway Museum (the original Jiaoji Railway Exhibition Hall) was first built in 2012 and expanded in 2014. It was officially completed and opened on November 18, 2016. Jiaoji Railway Museum is an exhibition hall built in a century-old building. Its main hall is the site of Jinan Station of Jiaoji Railway, which was built in 1915.

    Apart from the Upstream Steam Locomotive, and its supporting equipment crane and signal arm plate, there are also the century-old loadometer that weighed the train, the jacket press in 1938, the cross head and coupler of the steam locomotive, the light rail car, the baffle platoon at the front of the steam locomotive, and the traffic control console, etc.

    8. Zhalainoer Steam Locomotive Museum (扎赉诺尔蒸汽机车博物馆)

    Zhalainoer Steam Locomotive Museum

    Location: Inner Mongolia

    Built base on the old Manzhouli Railway Station in the early 20th century, the museum is divided into two floors, displaying more than a thousand precious railway and train relics, including the country's first longitudinal dissected steam locomotive.

    Further Reading:

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