The first visit to the train museum was a bust. In our haste to experience the thrill of bounding through rows of retired train cars, we neglected to read the times and days that the museum’s doors were open. Instead, we trudged through the city in the early afternoon heat only to reach a set of locked gates. We peered through the fence at the cache of train cars that we were barred from darting about as if we were crazed children and said, “This sucks!” “Aw, man!” and “What are we gonna do now?” Learning that many of Puebla’s museums are closed on Mondays, we turned back toward the zócalo so we could board a double-decker Turibus and ride around the city like a couple of chumps.
On Tuesday, we hopped out of a taxi in front of the museum on our way back from Cholula. This time the gates were open. At the rock-bottom entrance fee of 14 pesos, I found this museum to be an absolute bargain. Features include colossal coal-powered steam engines and passenger cars from the Porfiriato, president Avila Camacho’s personal car, a restored mail car, a sleeper car and a topnotch museum housed in the old train station. Along with the restored cars, I was pleased to find dozens of others in various stages of decay. There’s just something charming about chalky paint, broken glass, pervasive rust and rotting wood. Several trains had open doors, allowing visitors to tour the interiors of the cars. But according to signage posted around the grounds, the museum prohibits visitor access to the tops of the trains; unless you are one of the guys in charge of cleaning the train cars with a pressure washer.