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Visionary
Started in 1998, the museum was the brainchild of Shri B. S. (Bhau) Joshi, who was an engineer by profession, and a keen model railway enthusiast. Collecting train models was not just his hobby but an obsession right from childhood. As a child, he made very creative `Killas' or small models of forts during the Diwali festival, which is a custom in Maharashtra, India.
His Killas were made with lots of movement, like fire tenders which could actually put out fires, cars moving on the roads, etc.
1932 - 1998
All this was done with strings and pulleys. Even in those days, people flocked in large numbers to see Bhau's displays which were famous in the city.

In the '80s, Bhau decided to build a miniature city, which could be portable and taken to different places as a mobile exhibit. This city, a result of 40 years of hard work and creativity, was first displayed at the Gokhale Hall in 1982 and was a huge success. The layout was then exhibited at Bombay also, but Bhau soon realized that moving the exhibit was an expensive proposition. The paperwork and permissions required were also prohibitive. He also lost out on valuable time from his profession.

Thus the idea of a permanent Museum of Miniature Railways was conceived. The permanency of the museum offered scope to improve on the layout and experiment with detailing, landscaping, etc. The hall for the museum was constructed in 1991 but work on the museum was started in 1994 and after 4 more years of work, the museum was opened to the public on April 1, 1998.

The entire imaginary city is controlled from a panel from which arises a network of over 1000 wires (a length of 5 kms). There are 65 signals, points, fences, lampposts, flyovers, etc. which have been manufactured by hand using chemical etching techniques. The entire layout can be operated manually or can be computer controlled.

Unfortunately, Bhau did not live to see the tremendous appreciation his efforts were receiving from across the country. On October 11, 1998, Bhau left us for his heavenly abode.

Generation Next

Dear Friends,

What you see in the premises of the Joshi's Museum of Miniature Railways, is to me a legacy, a dream fructified by my father. For me to carry forward.

What you see as a miniature township in the museum, to me is the magical world of my childhood.

I feel privileged to be born in a family, which believed in giving me the inputs for exploring my likes and skills.

From the first Diwali that I can remember, we used to set up a layout in one room of our house. For the duration of Diwali this room was given over to railways. We worked late into the night after I had finished my school and homework. Never did he say that I was too young to handle any of his precious collection. He trusted me completely, and in turn I ensured that I would not let him down. Those were enchanted days during which we planned, drew, assembled, argued, and spent some wonderful hours together. This was the time I bonded with my father and saw him more as a friend.

All my school holidays were devoted to working in our factory. I never had time to be “bored” in the holidays, since I used to work in the factory from 8 to 5 learning all the skills I would require later on. Then during my college days we made the first “traveling” layout and displayed it at Gokhale Hall, Pune. Later we took it to Bombay and again to Dastur High School, Pune. The response and appreciation we received was mind blowing.

After I finished my Doctorate, I joined my father full time at the factory. This was in 1990. We constructed the hall for the Museum in 1991. Once I was handling all the routine production, and management at the factory, the decision to start work on a permanent museum was taken. In 1994, my father then started to work half day on the museum, since now he could now afford to spend time away from the factory. We also developed the layout further by bringing in digital controls for the trains. My education in Electronics and Computers also helped in planning the wiring for these controls.

The Museum was formally opened in 1 April 1998. During the first few months, my father narrated the commentary and I handled the controls.

It was a big shock to all of us when in October 1998, my father died after a short illness, only 6 months after the museum was formally opened for visitors.

After my father's demise, I have made several changes in the infrastructure, like air conditioning, a waiting area, and most importantly a Hobby Shop. In 2003 I added a layout of an airport in 1:500 scale.

In 2002, I traveled to Germany to attend an exhibition on toys and railway modeling. I was once again amazed to see the extent to which the Western world has developed this hobby and the seriousness with which it is pursued. While there, I decided that railway modeling must become an option for Indian children to have as a hobby. This is one hobby that transcends all barriers like age, sex, educational/vocational preferences, etc. There are about 400 companies manufacturing only toy trains and accessories in Germany alone and every 1 out of 3 families have a set of trains at home!

This is a hobby that involves nearly all branches of engineering and science as well as diverse branches like photography, economics, management etc. I believe that if it were not for being so keenly involved in the pursuit of railway modeling since early childhood, I would not have succeeded in my academics, winning the first prize in college in the Physics exhibition, for 5 consecutive years.

I hope one day I am able to create a Mini-India, something akin to the miniature cities in Europe. A few acres of land dedicated for enjoying India you traverse through those acres of land and feel you have traveled through India!

I sincerely request all parents to initiate their children into this educative and fun hobby of railway modeling. Give them the opportunity to explore their talents. You will not only have a happy child but a friend for a lifetime.

We are soon starting the Railway Hobby Club. For more information you can talk to me at the Museum.

Dr. Ravi Joshi

 
About the Museum
 
Features of the Museum
 
Trainz, The Hobby Station
 
Model Railway Society ,Pune
 
How to get there
 
Contact Us
 
Photo Album
 
Interesting Railway Links
 
 
About the Museum | Features of the Museum | Trainz, The Hobby Station | Model Railway Society, Pune | How to get there
Contact Us | Photo Album | Interesting Railway Links