I have failed to put up a post Mexico’s national railway museum despite visiting it months ago. Well, now seems as good a time as any to right this great wrong so without further ado….
Mexico’s railway museum is located in Puebla, a small (in comparison to Mexico City at least) city not far from Mexico’s capital. It’s actually a very large city but it has a traditional city centre that makes it feel much less crowded. It’s a place definitely worth visiting even if you aren’t a fan of railways, with some stunning cathedrals and architecture, excellent local food and various points of historical interest in relation to several of Mexico’s revolutions. It’s also the site of the Volkswagen factory which is why you see even more VW Beatles than normal. (and in Mexico – the normal amount of VW Beatles is a lot of VW Beatles)
But in all honesty I was here because I had found out about its train museum. Mexico had and still has an extensive rail network, and much like in the USA it was “the” method of travel up until the airplane revolution, before becoming untenable in the face of competition from Mexico’s many bus companies. The infrastructure still remains and freight trains still trundle along the tracks, but passenger trains are limited to the occasional train along the Copper Canyon (that it a very scenic journey – some photos here) and the illegal riding of freight wagons by illegal immigrants, the poor, and fool hardy adventurers. Indeed riding freight wagons like this only become illegal in the face of the mounting death toll from this ill-advised ride sharing a few years ago, and given that when I was walking along a stopped freight train, one such rider was pointing out to me places I could get on and get comfortable it still seems to be accepted in some parts.
But anyway, onto the museum. Much like the museums of Central Asia and Eastern Europe, Museum here seems to be a catch-all term for “stuff rusting outside.” The site is quite large, split in half by a road and with a further collection of junk roped off. (I still managed to have a bit of a wander around here, although I wish I had worn something a bit sturdier than flip-flops for the experience).
Despite some signs that suggested that some of the carriages could be viewed from inside, they were when i visited, all closed. Still glimpsing in from the outside often gave a brief idea of what thy must have been like – which is to say – carriage like. There isn’t all that much variation in standard passenger cars really.
What was cool was seeing some of the locomotive designs, which coming mostly from N.America do show differences from the various European and Asian styles I had become a bit used to.
There is basically no information in English, but to be fair there is precious little in Spanish. The highlight for me anyway was the roped off bit of more severely decayed examples. Much like the “Elephant graveyards” of Slovenia and Romania’s examples that got me into this weird museum odyssey in the first place.