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The heritage of railway documents and records at Rail Museum to be digitised

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Centre for Development of Advanced Computing has been entrusted with the task

The C-DAC (Centre for Development of Advanced Computing), a premier research and development organisation under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, has been entrusted with the task of digitising heritage railway documents and records available at the Rail Museum, Tiruchi. The railway administration has already given the work order to the C-DAC to carry out the massive digitisation work at the Tiruchi Rail Museum and the National Rail Museum, New Delhi.

Around nine lakh pages of heritage documents were available at the Tiruchi Rail Museum and these old records would be gradually scanned and converted into digital format for storage and archival purpose. A senior railway officer said the C-DAC would make the necessary hardware arrangements for digitisation of old documents preserved by the Rail Museum at the office of the Divisional Railway Manager.

A complete list of documents for meant digitisation has been prepared by the railway officials. Digitisation would make the documents easily accessible through search facility even for visitors. Tiruchi which was once the headquarters of the erstwhile South Indian Railway has a rich collection of rare documents in the form of old manuals, gazettes, files, records and photographs pertaining to the erstwhile South Indian Railway and the Indian Railway. These documents are preserved by the Rail Museum that was thrown open to visitors in 2015. With the work order having been given, the digitisation work was expected to commence in the coming months, said the officer.

Established on a sprawling area measuring 9,000 square feet, the Tiruchi Rail Museum showcases vintage railway equipment and artefacts used during the colonial era. Around 400 heritage artefacts have been displayed at the museum.

Saloon transformed

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A condemned wooden bodied metre gauge railway saloon built in 1930 and used by the agents of the then South Indian Railway and thereafter by Tiruchi Divisional Superintendents and Divisional Railway Managers as Inspection Carriage has been stationed at the museum. The saloon which was condemned in 2007 and identified as heritage coach is planned to be converted into a mini auditorium containing railway-related photographs depicting the history of Indian Railway for public viewing soon.

Use of scrap

A senior officer said metal scraps collected from the Diesel Loco Shed, Tiruchi, has been used to make small cannons, motorcycles, flower post and in the shape of butterflies. These have been kept on display at the museum as an added attraction. A couple of statues of bull brought from the Chidambaram railway station and an old ticket vending machine have also been added to the long list of museum collections.

Rise in earnings

The number of footfalls at the museum were more on the weekends with the earnings registering a sharp rise from October 2018 to April 2019. The earnings, generated through collection of entry fee, which was a little over ₹ 23,000 in October 2018 gradually rose to touch ₹95,000 in April 2019.

(source : The Hindu)

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