This museum was opened to celebrate the centenary of the poet Pablo Neruda’s birth. It was inaugurated on 24th February in 2004 by the President of the Republic, Ricardo Lagos. Inside, you will be able to see the old trains which had a great influence on life in this region and you will also be able to appreciate, more fully, Pablo Neruda’s poetry.
These premises belonged to the Chilean State Railway Company up until the year 2001, when they were then handed over to Temuco`s City Council, complete with machinery, equipment and green areas.
Pablo Neruda spent a large part of his life in Temuco’s Railway station. When Neftalí Reyes Basoalto was a child, he grew up amongst the machines that his father, a train driver, drove between Temuco y Santiago. His whole life is associated with railway tracks and trains which is why they could not be absent in his centenary year.
The museum exhibits a wide range of engines, carriages and wagons, each with information about the model, its weight etc. You can also take advantage of the chance to walk inside one of them. One of the most popular attractions is the presidential carriage.
The Presidential Carriage
This train called ES Nº1 (Special Service) was built in1923 in Germany by the Linke Hofmann Lauchhammer factory designed to be used by the general director of the FF.CC. Later in1954, the then President of Argentina, Juan Domingo Perón, visited Chile and used this as his official carriage.
Presidents Jorge Alessandri Rodríguez, Eduardo Frei Montalva, Salvador Allende Gossens and Patricio Aylwin Azócar used the train. Gabriela Mistral also had the pleasure of travelling in the carriage after her official reception in Valparaíso in the 1950’s, before she passed away in the U.S.A.
The presidential carriage has 2 en suite bedrooms, a Normandy style living-dining room furnished in black leather; it is finished in a veneer made of walnut tree roots.
The Railway Museum is situated in the old Machinery House (Casa de las Máquinas), northwest of Temuco, in the Pueblo Nuevo district. Opening hours are Tuesday to Sunday from 09:00 to 18:00. An entrance fee is charged.