In 1840 travelling by train was so incredibly new that there were no words to describe it. In those days railway platforms were referred to as “jutting balconies”, a train appeared to be a “string of carriages” and the locomotive was called a “steam dragon”. At least these are the words used by the famous Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen. Today his birthplace Odense is home to the Danish Railway Museum that brings new life to the pioneering spirit of railway vehicles. Dozens of historic locomotives and railroad cars can be found in the giant roundhouse - from the oldest preserved locomotive in Denmark, built in 1869, to the 1956 MY diesel locomotive with its round nose, from royal saloon cars to the orange shunting tractor starring in the Danish gangster comedy "The Olsen Gang on Track". The best part of it is that visitors are allowed to enter almost every vehicle and to take over various roles. How, for instance, did it feel to travel on the wooden benches of a third-class compartment or to stand in the driver's cab of a heavy steam locomotive? A comprehensive overview of the exhibits as well as the history of the Danish railways is offered by the roundhouse's gallery. Meanwhile kids will have lots of fun in the well equipped Children’s Railway Station. A particular highlight are the vintage train rides to various parts of Denmark.
The museum of the Danish State Railways (DSB) looks back to more than 100 years of history. Even before 1900 a number of DSB personnel started to collect valuable historic objects, followed in 1907 by specific proposals for an exhibition space in Copenhagen's new central station that was still under construction. The first major exhibition took place in a former express goods warehouse showing photographies as well as models of ferries and ships, machinery parts, and signalling devices. In 1928 the museum moved to the DSB's headquarters in Copenhagen where it suffered heavily from lack of space. During the decades to follow a significant number of historic rolling stock was collected in various vacant roundhouses. By 1954 the museum owned, amongst others, two old British locomotives, a German-built freight train locomotive (G 78) from 1875, and a "P" engine (P 125) built in Germany in 1882. Furthermore there were two royal carriages and a double-decker passenger car from 1900. All of these vehicles are still part of the museum. The collection grew considerably in the post-war years, due to the prevailing withdrawal of steam locomotives from service. Later on the museum's stock was supplemented by diesel locomotives, motor carriages, and "S" commuter trains.
The idea to take over the large roundhouse right next to Odense Central Station on the island of Funen came up in 1965. At that time Funen's railway network celebrated its centenary. However, it was to take until 1988 before the museum would finally reopen after a sweeping modernisation of its new premises. Currently the exhibition area covers 6,000 square metres, including 19 tracks with rolling stock and a gallery. Apart from that the museum maintains a research department focusing mainly on the railway's cultural impact. Part of the findings fuelled an app providing rail passengers with useful facts about all sorts of railway heritage traces. The same kind of information shapes the vintage train rides that are often drafted in co-operation with other Museums.
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