Day 87: Tashkent Railway Museum

Tashkent Railway Museum in Spring

One of the best preserved vestiges of Soviet Railway technology in the former Soviet Union, the Tashkent Museum of Railway Technics was opened in 1989 in honor of the 100th anniversary of the railroad in Uzbekistan.  Located just across the street from the Tashkent Central Station, this sprawling outdoor museum features a collection of 13 steam engines, 18 diesel, and 3 electric locomotives on permanent static display.

Visitors to the museum are treated to an up close and personal experience.  None of the locomotives on display are roped off in any way.  A few are even open for visitors to climb up on an into the cabs.  Although almost all the gauges and levers have been stripped away, you can still appreciate how massive these machines are, and how much power was harnessed through the skillful manipulation of coal and steam.

classic 1950’s Soviet electric locomotive

The park-like complex is spread out over 800m of pathways lined with the museum collection of engines, locomotives, and various examples of Soviet era rolling stock.  Rather than maintain the interiors, the exteriors are the main event here.  Windows are unfortunately mostly totally painted over.  Touch-up paint jobs over the years have also lacked detail, so much of the collection looks better from a distance than up close and personal.

Despite the lack of attention to detail, the museum offers a rare opportunity to view Soviet era railway equipment up close.  A must for any railway geek, the experience exceeded expectations.  The price of admission is less than two dollars, so you really can’t go wrong spending an hour or two among the trains.  From Tashkent вокзал just across the street, for just a few dollars more, you can actually buy a ticket to experience a journey on more recent Soviet built trains still taking paid passengers to points within Uzbekistan, and beyond.

visitors can really appreciate the scale of these incredible machines

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