Unveiling Jinja’s Uncelebrated Legends (Part 2) – The Railway Museum

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Did you know? There is such a thing as The Uganda Railway Museum. A national treasure that only a few Ugandans know of yet but we are changing the narrative; Wonder why? Well, the Railway Museum was only quite recently opened in March 2022, and it is located in Jinja Uganda, along the Jinja – Iganga Highway, at the Jinja Railway Station. Whilst the Uganda Railway – Jinja Station is one of Uganda’s oldest historical artifacts, the museum was only opened, after realizing the need for Ugandans and as well interested foreigners, to explore this aspect of history. The objective is to recognize and celebrate the history of Uganda’s Railways whilst exploring the story and impact of Railways in the lives of those who served in this segment of the economy.

The Uganda Railway construction started in the early 1900s, thus two parts of this establishment. The normal Railway, and the Jinja Nile Bridge Railway whose construction started in 1926. The Jinja Railway Station was built in 1928, yet it still stands as firm as yesterday. One has to admit; it is a remarkable establishment! At the station, you will find railway wagons stationed there, along railway tracks, a restaurant called the ‘Dining Area’, and of course, the Railway Museum.

The Railway Museum, a member of the Uganda Community Museums Association (UCOMA), The International Committee for Conservation of Industrial Heritage (TICCIH), and the International National Trusts Organisation (INTO) is currently run by the Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda (CCFU) in partnership with Uganda Railways Corporation (URC).

“We have always advocated for the safeguarding of historic buildings, sites and monuments but the establishment of the Museum gives us a chance to demonstrate to the general public how to preserve a historic building sustainably.”

Miss Caroline Adriaensen, speaking on behalf of H.E. Attilio Paifici, the head of the European Union Delegation to the Republic of Uganda as of March 2022, in her address at the opening of the Railway Museum said that “The museum presents a great opportunity to recognize and appreciate the history of the railways in Uganda, their role in the lives of Ugandans who lived and worked along them, and their place in the country’s political and economic development. The European Union is delighted to support the revival of this crucial infrastructure and an important piece of our collective memory in Uganda.”

While Miss Barbara Babwetera Mutambi, Executive Director for the Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda during the Railway Museum opening said that; “We have always advocated for the safeguarding of historic buildings, sites, and monuments but the establishment of the Museum gives us a chance to demonstrate to the general public how to preserve a historic building sustainably.”

The Museum is also a celebration of Uganda’s Railway history as depicted in the book ‘Our Railways, our History- From Mombasa to Pakwach by the Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda’, You can purchase a copy of the book at the Railway Museum, which opens from Tuesday to Sunday, 9 am to 6 pm EAT.

The programs run there include;

  • A guided tour of the Railway Museum and locomotive
  • An in-wagon cinema experience where one gets to watch documentaries, for instance those of the history of the Uganda Railways, or even attend open-air movie nights showing every Sunday at 7 pm
  • A ‘Dining Area’ restaurant experience where one gets to taste ‘railway themed’ concept meals, like wagon Rolexes, and can also purchase items like t-shirts and caps.
  • A train experience of restored, but stationed locomotive wagons.

These, among other activities, are those offered at the Railway Museum. Want this experience? Book with Us at Richara Safaris. An Amazing Fact: Source: www.urc.go.ug.The Uganda Railway Network is of length 1,266kms.

The operational sections of the track include;

  • Malaba-Jinja-Kampala main line (251 km)
  • Jinja-Jinja Pier (4km)
  • Siding to Roofings Namanve
  • Siding to Liberty ICD
  • Siding to UGACOF
  • Siding to SPEDAG
  • Siding to Bollore Uganda
  • Kampala – Port Bell (9km)
  • Kampala – Nalukolongo (5km)
  • Tororo – Mbale(55km)

 Non-operating sections include:

  • Soroti – Pakwach (total 507km, northern branch)
  • Nalukolongo-Kasese (330km)
  • Siding to Kilembe mines (4km)
  • Siding to Hima Cement (11 km)
  • Busoga loop (145 km)

The network is single-track, diesel, with an axle load of 19 tons (Harris & Tee,2019).


Northern Corridor

  • Mombasa Kampala via Malaba, Jinja
  • Kisumu Port Bell / Jinja via Lake Victoria

Southern Corridor

  • Dares Salaam Port Bell/ Jinja via Mwanza/Lake Victoria

Source: https://urc.go.ug/our-networks

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