On the occasion of its fiftieth anniversary, the Cité du Train in Mulhouse, the heritage museum of the French rail company SNCF, would like you to discover the many rich facets of its history and collections and take a peek behind the scenes.
Formerly known as the French Railways Museum, the Cité du Train, the heritage museum of SNCF, continues to be a recognised Musée de France. It covers two centuries of railways in France, from the first steam locomotives to modern TGV trains. Through its rich collection of rolling stock, models, railway-related objects, posters and art works, the Cité du Train retraces a significant part of the history of the country and our collective memory.
Each piece on display tells visitors something about this great adventure, where people tirelessly developed new technologies and brought regions and their inhabitants closer to each other.
Number of visitors received by the Museum since it was opened in 1971
Area covered by all the areas of the Museum in its home in Mulhouse
Number of items of rolling stock (engines and carriages) put on display for the public
Number of employees of the organisation responsible for managing the Museum.
The rationale for this retrospective
Trains are massive, moving, rugged, precious, and a part of our collective memory. Given that fact, how are the railways to be conserved, displayed and explained to all? A study of the drawings, correspondence, collections, press articles, with a number of images and pictures, shows that there is no one final answer. That is seen in the history of the French Railways Museum, now the Cité du Train – SNCF Heritage. That is what we would like you to discover.
The website, developed by the Strasbourg agency Vuxe, allows you to dive into the history of the Museum using immersive visual technology. Along with a virtual guide, the visitor can thus explore five sections, each in a special graphics atmosphere that reflects its time. These are designed to form a historical saga and one section will be posted every month from June to September 2021.
Innovation at the service of heritage
The Cité du Train is the experimental ground for winners of the first SNCF Heritage Incubator contest, sponsored by the Centre for National Monuments in 2019, and has been working since the start of the year with the startup Blumenlab on the creation of virtual tours of the rolling stock exhibited in the Museum. They are available in the different sections of this website and from the SAM! (Sud Alsace Museums) mobile tour app. (Sud Alsace Museums).
In 2021, the Cité du Train inaugurated new digital systems to enable its visitors and Internet users to take a dive into the history of the Museum. On Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts of the Museum, you can peek behind the scenes of the 50th anniversary celebrations, take a look at unseen and unusual archives, follow the timeline of the history of the Museum and take part in quizzes and contests.
La Cité du Train would like to thank its partners for supporting the museum throughout the year:
The site, which brings together all the know-how of railways, has been developed with the help of partner institutions and media.
The collection at the Cité du Train has Musée de France approval.
The Cité du Train would like to thank all those without whom this virtual retrospective would have been impossible: the Board of Directors of the Cité du Train, the employees and volunteers of the Cité du Train, SNCF and its heritage and sponsorship bureau, Mulhouse Alsace Agglomération, Musées Mulhouse Sud Alsace, the City of Mulhouse, the Municipal Archives and Libraries of Mulhouse, the Institut National de l’Audiovisuel, SARDO SNCF library, Centre national des archives historiques SNCF, DRAC Grand-Est, the newspapers L’Alsace and DNA, La Vie du Rail publications, the agency Vuxe, Blumenlab, the agency Landor, the SNCF design centre, RAMCAS, AFAC, The Thur Doller Alsace train, the Centre des Monuments Nationaux and all those who provided their testimonials.
Managing editor: Christophe CHARTRAIN
Commission: Mathilde BUAILLON & Amandine CLAR
Coordination: Julien PRODORUTTI
Historical and image research: Mathilde BUAILLON, Amandine CLAR, Thomas MEYER & Julien PRODORUTTI
Writing: Mathilde BUAILLON
Translation: Traducta International
Design, development and project management: VUXE
Photo and video credits:
© Archives Municipales de Mulhouse
© Archives Municipales de Mulhouse – fonds Cité du Train
© Archives Municipales de Mulhouse – fonds Rudler
© Bibliothèque Municipale de Mulhouse
© Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris
© Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
© Centre national des archives historiques SNCF, Le Mans
© Collection Cité du Train
© Collection Cité du Train – dépôt SNCF
© Collection Cité du Train – Nicolas Muguet
© Collection Cité du Train – Raphaël Dautigny
© Dernières Nouvelles d’Alsace, Strasbourg
© Institut National de l’Audiovisuel, Paris
© L’Alsace, Mulhouse
© La Vie du Rail, Paris
© Médiathèque SARDO SNCF, Saint-Denis
© Musée Carnavalet, Paris, CC
© Rail Miniature Club Alsace Sud, Mulhouse
© Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg, CC
© World History Archive, CC
The final bibliography will be available when section 5 is published.