Exhibit D: Discover the touring trains at IATM’s member museums

Part 4 of our article series detailing what exhibitions to see and expect at our member institutions. From hands-on of historic sites and vehicles to a newly designed permanent exhibition: Embark on a journey along Germany’s North and Switzerland.

Trains by the beach, in the city, through tunnels, and across the country

Trains can go almost anywhere. Three member museums show how they display and conserve the history of trains with hands-on experiences and story telling. The first stop takes you to Swiss Industrial Heritage (SIH) and Göschenen in Switzerland.

Göschenen Makes National History: the Railway Tunnel of 1882 (Re-opening in May 2024)

Blasting show, SIH

The Swiss Industrial Heritage’s open-air exhibit in Göschenen, Switzerland tells the story of the Gotthard railway tunnel’s construction. Including the sighting tunnel with a blasting show – the strike of 1875. Unlike any other place along the Gotthard railway, the bridges in Göschenen illustrate the development of traffic from the mule track to the road and the railway. You can explore train history while enjoying the beautiful region and sight of a village in the Swiss Alps.

The Gotthard Tunnel Village awaits!

From a historic tour at a local level the next exhibition at the German Museum of Technology takes you indoors and to a larger scale.

Railroad: Evolution and everyday life (opening on 21 March 2024)

View of the new entry to the exhibition inside historical engine sheds. SDTB, photo: M. Rapp

Engine shed number 1 opens its doors for your tour of rail transport from 200 years ago until 1914. It shows how rail transport fundamentally and forever changed the lives of all people. For example, the railroad made major migration movements possible. Additionally, it lead to the creation of time zones across the globe. They symbolise the growing global network fostered through infrastructure. Drawing from the museum’s unique collection, you are invited on a hands-on interactive tour: Peek at the oldest preserved streetcar: a Berlin horse-drawn carriage from 1863 or discover more at the media stations. The exhibition is part of the museum revising its permanent exhibition on railroad history. Up next? Engine shed 2. 😉

Get your train ticket now!

Conserving historic train tracks and trains is at the heart of the Association of Traffic Amateurs and Museum’s Train’s (Verein Verkehrsamateure and Museumsbahn) work and efforts. With three sites along the coast and Hamburg area, they focus on a particular region that also reflects global infrastructural developments.

Next to the beach – Rides in historic tramways and on a historic branch line railway (especially from end of May to the beginning of September)

Located next to the Baltic Sea, the only museum with running historic tramways and historic railways in one place welcomes experts and spectators alike. The former station Schönberger Strand of the Kleinbahn Kiel-Schönberg (1914-1975) now houses coaches, railcars and locomotives from 1898 to 1960 in running condition and many more. Trams from cities in Northern Germany, such as Hannover, Hamburg or Kiel, invite visitors to an introduction in the art of tramway driving. These as well as rides on the footplate of a diesel locomotive can be booked with the Museumsbahnen Schönberger Strand, Verein Verkehrsamateure und Museumsbahn. If the weather suits – or you are open to any kind of temperature – you can combine this experience with a bath in the Baltic Sea. Unique in Germany.

Dive in! 

Railways and Public Transport History in the Area of Hamburg, Germany 

Just a few stops on the S2 line of the Hamburg S-Bahn take you to Aumühle. Here, the loco shed alongside the railway line from Hamburg to Berlin is home to a large exhibition of steam engines, coaches and other railway material. Additionally, a 1927 Hamburg S-Bahn train houses changing photography exhibitions on public transport in the Hamburg area.

How was and is safety secured on railway lines? A railcar with five signal boxes shows how it is achieved. If you are looking for some serious hands-on activity, a hand lever rail trolley has got your exercise routine for the day covered. A more relaxing time can be had while riding on a narrow gauge railway.

Day at the locomotive shed in Aumühle
View of the permanent exhibition in Wohldorf.

A third site of the Association of Transport Amateurs and Museum Trains awaits with a detailed permanent exhibition.

Public Transport in Hamburg in the 1950ies and 1960ies

Embark on a journey of an “interurban” tram line (running from 1907 to 1961) at the former Depot Wohldorf. A second exhibition displays the diversity of public transport in post-war Hamburg and its surroundings. Imagine a developing network of public transport with a variety of tramways, steam trains, old trains of suburban and underground railways. Add long gone buses, trolleys, and boats and you’ll gain an impression of what it must have been like. Did we mention the inconsistent fare system? A small, but detailed exhibition with lots of photographs, models and films.

Off to the Fifties!

Inspiring your work

If an exhibition sparked your interest or you are working on a similar topic, we’ll happily connect you. Museums in over 30 countries are represented within the International Association of Transport and Communications Museums. They share similar topics and can be extremely different in their approach. We want to provide you with a sense of the current topics and approaches in the institutions.

The last article in our series takes you to Frankfurt’s Museum for Communication (8 March 2024).
Find the previous article here.