Monday, July 5, 2010

Locomotive breath...

This post is for a special sort of person. You know who you are. The train enthusiast.

Yes, this one is for you.

In a town up in the mountains of Turkey above Ephesus there is a town called Çamlık. And in this town is one of the finest steam engine museums you can imagine.

The museum doesn't show up in Lonely Planet guidebooks, nor on This is a major oversight (and one we're going to get corrected). All outdoors, among copious roseplants bursting into bloom, there are more than 30 steam engines, some from the late 1800s, and in impressively good condition.

Here's the best part: you can climb up into them to your heart's content.

We went there entirely on a whim, thanks to a write-up in our cottage naming sights in the area. "Good for boys of all ages," our host had written. It took some driving around and stopping to ask for directions by our Turkish driver (I'll introduce you to him next time) and a few misturns, but finally we found it. And what a find. Old steam engines, as far as the eye could see.

It was a real toss-up as to which boy, Mike or Thomas, was more excited.

Thomas, who is, by name and destiny, a big fan of the Thomas Tank Engine series, immediately (and repeatedly) set himself up as engineer, ("Driver! I'm the driver!") Bethy as a passenger, and me, well, he barked at me to stoke the firebox, thoroughly enjoying himself as he climbed up and down from the cabs.

I didn't know he even knew the word "stoke". This was better than Disneyland.

Some of the trains had rusted a bit, and you had to be careful, but there was no dampening our enthusiasm. That, my friend, is what tetanus shots are for.

One thing we learned about ourselves this trip is that we really, really love to have a place essentially to ourselves, to explore and discover on our own. This place fit that desire perfectly. Even when a huge field trip of children arrived, there was plenty of space to be off having your own train fantasy.

In addition to the trains there was a big open shed of tools, the railway car Atatürk, the great leader and hero of Turkey rode in, (though he died in 1938, many women in Turkey are still in love with him, the men striving to live up to his manliness), and other bits and bobs, all labeled and lovingly restored.

This snowplow engine was a real favorite.

I was incredibly low on camera memory (and kicking myself for it) but I squeezed in a quick video of the center of the museum, a turntable with engines all around. Fantastic.

and here is a link to a write-up describing the individual engines and more photos, since I know you train lovers can never get enough.


Cindy Napier said...

I love it! Zack would be in heaven there! :)

Mumsey said...

Definitely a must see. How is the project/restoration funded?

Natalie said...

I do believe it is the Turkish Railways (Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Devlet Demiryolları or TCDD)that funds and runs the project. Good for them, I say!

*Paula* said...

That looks like it could be anywhere! Isn't that funny about trains? :)