The International Steam Pages

The Rahmi M Koç Museum, Istanbul, 2007

This is James Waite's report, click here for Chris Hodrien's report which concentrates on the stationary steam side, but also includes a brief mention of the Camlik Railway Museum. At the bottom is Richard Foster's update from January 2010.

Thomas Kautzor was here in April 2016, the museum continues to make impressive progress as shown in his photographs (21st May 2016).

This is an enormous museum, devoted to the history of technology and very professionally run. It's a bit like the Science Museum in London and the railway exhibits form only a small part of what's on view. The main part of the museum is housed in an old 19th century shipyard on the northeastern bank of the Golden Horn, rather more than a mile upstream from the Galata bridge and a few hundred metres south of the E5 motorway bridge. They have a website (link broken July 2020).

Under cover in the main entrance building is an exotically decorated 4-wheeled coach built for Sultan Abdülaziz by the Metropolitan Carriage & Wagon Co. in Birmingham in the mid-1860's at the expense of the British shareholders of the Ottoman Railway. The sultan used it for a tour of Europe which took in London amongst many other places. There was a note on its history in Continental Railway Journal 137 (Spring 2004). 

There's also a metre gauge electric tramcar in the same building which formerly ran on a line on the Asian side of the city and outside, on the southern side amongst the motor exhibits, a horse tram. Back inside the building, rather incongruously, some (British) Midland Railway cast iron trespass notices are mounted on the wall with a display of British Railways 1950's carriage crest transfers.

The main railway exhibits are in the open air on the northern side of the entrance building. They include TCDD no 55022, an ex-Prussian G10 0-10-0 that was stored at Sirkeci station, the terminus on the European side of the city, for a long time.

There is a varnished wooden cable car from the Tunel-Galata underground line (described in Continental Railway Journal 131, Autumn 2002) and a 600mm gauge 0-6-0T which is one of seven Davenports (3159-65/1949) from Zingal Forestry Co. (see and 

By the waterfront a 600mm gauge railway is under construction, running northwards beside the water for as far as the eye can see. If the place names painted on the sides of the carriages are anything to go by the line should be well over a mile long by the time it is finished. There are three carriages parked in the station area which used to run on the railway at Eskisehir air force base and there's also a Ruston 4-wheeled diesel. There used to be two more narrow gauge steam exhibits, Henschel 0-4-0T (15943/1918) which also ran at Eskisehir and OK 0-4-0WT 12212/1930 from a timber yard at Ayancik on the Black Sea coast of Turkey, but they had disappeared. The staff couldn't tell me what had happened to them but it's tempting to think that maybe they are being put back into working order to run on the new line. Narrow gauge steam beside the Golden Horn, now there's an appealing prospect!

There's also a display of railway models in the old anchor factory on the opposite side of the road from the main exhibits.

This part of Istanbul consists largely of old shipyards and industrial premises with a great deal of character, a quiet area and a far cry from the bustle of the usual tourist haunts in the city. 

The old metre gauge tramway running south from Taksim Square through one of the main shopping districts to Tunel station is also well worth a visit. I don't know quite how old the trams are but they're very traditional in appearance. The depot is at the Taksim end, at the end of a short branch near the main Taksim stop. 

There's also an 0-4-0T (TCDD 2251, (Krauss 380/1874) displayed outside Sirkeci station.

Similarly a 2-4-0 (TCDD 23004, Sharp Stewart 3501/1888) outside Haydarpasa station, the Asian terminus. 

If you're heading for Haydarpasa bear in mind that the ferry which goes there leaves from the terminal at the northern end of the Galata bridge, not the terminal close to Sirkeci station.

Richard Foster has added this January 2010 update:

"I am pleased to say the opening of the railway did go ahead. Since your visit a lot of improvements have taken place. We have acquired a further larger diesel locomotive, this being a Baguley Drewery that is being used for passenger trips. The station and surroundings have been improved, the area where the large G10 locomotive and others were displayed has been enclosed with a roof and glass walls, which has greatly improved the visitor experience, and protects the exhibits from the elements. Further continental diesel locomotives have been added to this area.

The Orenstein & Koppel steam locomotive has been stripped and re-built including extensive boiler work and if all goes to plan should be in steam on the railway later this year.

The Henschel has also had a full re-build and extensive boiler work and is now on site awaiting its final steam test and safety certification.

I believe that permission has been granted to extend the line to link up with the Power House Museum situated at the end of the Golden Horn, but in the present global financial climate this has been put on hold.

You may also be interested in our latest exhibit the Bosporus Ferry MV Fenerbahce built in 1952 by Denny Bros of Dumbarton. This is in wonderful condition, the engine room on its own is well worth seeing."

Rob Dickinson