National Railway Museum

The Bulawayo railway museum is a one of a kind museum which celebrates the establishment of the rail industry in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and the countries around it.  Housing a number of old style coaches used in the 1900’s, the museum’s interesting exhibits play a significant role in mapping the history of the Rhodesia Railways which is now the National Railways of Zimbabwe, NRZ. The museum was opened in November 1972. Visitors will also find miniature trains and a fascinating early 1900’s typical ticket office with all the paraphernalia that was used for day to day business.

Some of the exhibits include; an 1896 Pullman Saloon coach, which belonged to Rhodes, a vintage telephone booth, a Pickering Livestock wagon, and other steam-powered locomotives.  Many photographs are dotted on the walls showing milestone moments in the rail industry such as the Royal visit of 1947, first train from Umtali to Salisbury (May 1899), the opening of the Victoria Falls bridge in 1905 and so on. There are many remarkable facts one will learn from the tour that is not noted in any of the conventional history textbooks and the following excerpt summarises how crucial rail was in the growth of a nation and an economy.

 ‘The initial growth of the railway was an effort to reach raw materials and promote trade. Later it would enable the growth of local industry and agriculture. Like him or despise him Cecil John Rhodes was the prime mover. He used his own wealth and that of his British South Africa Company to finance its construction. Another major financier was his friend Alfred Beit. We must also pay tribute to others who were involved, the engineers, surveyors, artisans and manual laborers who laid the foundation of our railway. Many died in the process….’  And we salute them all. 

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Crew Road, Bulawayo

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