a temporary exhibition
As they go into the half roundhouse of Mulhouse North, these fictional characters meet Michel Doerr, the first Director of the Museum, wearing his signature hat. The old-fashioned labels placed before the machines provide information about the items on display. At the end of the visit, Andrée is fully supportive: “I find this wonderful, but it is all a bit still”. That was the criticism the museum founders had tried to address from the very beginning, by developing tours and animations. As Jean-Mathis Horrenberger pointed out, a new civilisation was on the march: that of entertainment.
trains on display at last
On 19 June, the newspaper L’Alsace pointed out that access was not easy for those who were unfamiliar with the Mulhouse railway scene. Another access map had to be published. That initial hiccup did not last long. The museum staff soon began putting out signboards, distributing flyers and working alongside the Mulhouse tourist office and the local, national and international press. For example, five months later in October 1971, 130 German journalists had already been to the museum. Even before it moved into its permanent home, the museum aimed to make its mark on the public mind.
Early rolling stock and partnerships
A museum that is the “only one of its kind”
The locomotive and the cook
7.47 am 500 kilometres away, in Paris, a group of people settled in carriage 15 of train 113 bound for Mulhouse. They included: André Ségalat, Chairman of SNCF, particularly accompanied by Mr Henri Lefort, Deputy General Manager, Mr Camille Martin, Equipment and Traction Manager and Mr Marcel Garreau, Honorary Director of SNCF.
12.08 pm Arrival in Mulhouse station. After lunch at the SIM, the officials were transferred by coach to Mulhouse-Nord.
2 pm The ceremony could start. Lit by the flashes of reporters for Loco-Revue or L’Alsace, Jean-Mathis Horrenberger spoke to the audience, followed by André Ségalat. The speech by the Chairman of SNCF still resounds within the walls of the Cité du Train. André Ségalat was optimistic and resolutely visionary, foreseeing the great issues of the third millennium as early as in 1971.
Art comes to the
“Do you know
the French Railways Museum”
as the sign
A passion for postcards
Children, and others
EXPOSITION – STOP – WISH YOU EVERY SUCCESS
Wood and glumlam
In a letter sent in November 1969 to Michel Doerr, Pierre-Yves Schoen described this method as ideal, since it allowed “large spans with no support points, freedom to locate posts and fasten walkways at any point of the frame.” The main posts and beams were made in reinforced concrete. The façade was to be finished in Rhine pebble dash.
“This is the future location of THE FRENCH RAILWAYS MUSEUM”
The 232 U 1 was scrubbed and painted, bearing a whole section of the history of railways and their museum. In 1976, under the brand new structures of the new museum and thanks to the technical support of SNCF, the machine was put into motion without moving. Nearly fifty years on, this animation can still be seen in the museum.
In a letter sent on 20 May 1976 to André Portefaix, Michel Doerr expressed his thanks for the “marvellous photos” brought by Mr Naudot, which “provide extraordinary memories of this roundhouse we are about to leave”. Moving a bit closer to the Vosges, the French Railways Museum ceased to be temporary and became final. And between the now bare walls of the depot, these words could be heard: “Here we are, one magical moment, such is the stuff, from which dreams are woven”.