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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Istanbul - Heritage Transport

Probably the equivalent of Glasgow's Riverside Museum on the Clyde with its eclectic displays of Scottish vehicles, ship models, and of course buses and trams - is the Rahmi M. Koc Industrial Museum on the shore of the Golden Horn in Istanbul. The Koc family business combine is one of the largest private sector corporations in Turkey. Its Founder, Rahmi Koc, took it upon himself to assemble examples of cars, vessels, railway equipment and a diverse collection of transport related assets. These have been placed on public display on a waterfront site formerly used as a dockyard (complete with slipways) and foundry for manufacture of ships anchors and chains.

The resulting heritage attraction provides a unique (the only such exhibition in Turkey) venue for visitors of all ages with broad interest in transport artifacts. Railway equipment is not overlooked with a mainline steam locomotive and smaller tank engine, as well as an Italian built railcar of the mid 1930s in mint condition both inside and out. Istanbul's trams are represented by an early two axle enclosed car, a horse drawn tram and a 1920s two axle German designed and built car with centre entrance.

Possibly of especial interest to model makers is the large exhibition of scale locomotives, coaches and indeed trams. Particularly so in the case of trams since several larger scale models of British trams are displayed referencing Glasgow, Liverpool and London (but not Blackpool). A token London Routemaster bus is also an exhibit next to the remains of a US Airforce bomber which crashed in the sea nearby during the later war years. A family of cats find its interior structure an especially safe home.

The Museum is reached by several Istanbul bus services from the Ferry terminal in Istanbul as well as the Haskoy Ferry itself. Open most days (except Mondays) the Museum, privately owned and managed, is exceptional in providing under a single roof (or complex of structures) a kaleidescope of superbly displayed exhibits with both English and Turkish descriptions (albeit brief). Waterside restaurants and conferencing space complements the development and as such offer a particularly apt example of what could become a Fylde coast equivalent at Wyre Dock in Fleetwood. Whilst there is no working tramway, there is a short narrow gauge railwayline with period coaches pulled by a small diesel unit (which I rode) very professionally operated by serious staff.

Worthwhile example of a riverside (Golden Horn) site formerly used by shipbuilders and now conserved and brought alive attracting year round footfall - Below

PS : The 13.00 represents the fare to ride on the narrow gauge railway - in Turkish Lira with approximate UK£2. for an adult.

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