Sirkeci Railway Museum

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Sirkeci Railway station, Istanbul

Tucked away in an almost overlooked corner of Sirkeci Railway Station in Istanbul, the one room Sirkeci Railway Museum is a ferroequinologist’s (someone who studies trains) delight. In fact, even people like me who see trains simply as a useful form of transport will find lots here to enjoy. Sirkeci Railway Station was built in 1888 by German architect August Jasmund and opened in 1890. Although the main structure has seen better days, it still has its original round stained glass windows in the Oriental-Gothic façade. This grandeur was fitting for the last stop on the famous Orient Express, which began its journey in Paris.

Original stained glass inserts above entry to Sirkeci Railway Museum

Inside, the Sirkeci Railway Museum contains furniture and original silver services used on Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Devlet Demiryolları (Turkish Republic Public Railways – or TCDD for short) trains. Sadly they’ve replaced the groovy Thunderbirds Are Go original upholstery on the fixed dining table and chairs with something much plainer, but they still appeal. The walls are covered in manufacturers’ plates, maps and photographs and there’s even a complete driver’s cabin standing in the middle of the room. Anyone who ever asked Santa for a railway set will see their wish come true here. Unfortunately you can’t take it home with you!

Find out more about the history of the building and the Sirkeci Railway Museum, as well as the opening hours, entry cost and how to get there, on page 135 of Istanbul 50 Unsung Places.

Dine on the Orient Express.
Who wouldn't want to own this train set?

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