The train is arriving at the Railway Park! It is one of the first theme parks in Greece, operating since 1986 and situated in a public venue belonging to the Hellenic Railway Organization. In an area of 5.4 hectares with on open horizon, the train looks as if it's travelling again. Here the railroad is at its natural environment. The venue is an open air museum / exhibit area. The old station Kalamata – Limin is now historical for the population of the city.
Here we can see the exhibits of the museum: the station, the boarding platforms with an entrance kiosk and waiting benches, old steam wagons and engines, a pedestrian bridge, change keys, lanterns, switches, stoppers. Seven steam trains have survived, one diesel, a crane built in 1890, and first and second class passenger wagons made in 1885. The wagons have been configured in such a way so as to host municipal functions and events apart from their educational and exhibitive character, e.g. theatrical performances and music-mobility games for children.
Thus, it becomes a park where the citizens meet. A venue of remembrance for the older and of recreation for the younger. Beyond the exhibits relevant to the railroad, it also has a basketball and volleyball field, as well as other facilities for the entertainment of children. Moreover, various societies have their offices here, as the Society of the Messenian Friends of the Railroad at the main building of the park, the renovated station "Kalamata – Limin", a fact signifying that the railroad is the starting point for the communication and the self-organization of the citizens. At the ground floor of the same building one can relax and enjoy refreshments at a cafeteria.
The importance of the train for Kalamata
The trains that departed, eventually returned. Kalamata honours the railroad with a special way and this because the city was pretty much dependant from its operation. The railway was the main mean of transportation of the people of Messenia towards the major urban centres for many years. Evidently, a remembrance as such could not be left out of the city of Kalamata. For decades, the trains would carry goods, people and livestock, entire households, even dreams and expectations. The inhabitants of Kalamata have many stories to tell on board the trains that departed for Athens and returned back.
New acquaintances, friendships, parcels that were lost, students waiting for their train, ex-patriots that returned home, moves to a new place and also, communication and exchange with other cities of the Peloponnese. This railroad track circled almost all of the Peloponnese: Isthmos, Argos, Sparta, Tripolis, Kalamata, Kyparissia. In the memories of all the people of Kalamata the railroad was not just a means of transportation but also the vehicle that transported their thoughts, even their dreams for a different life. It was a part of their social life and their communication with the outer world.
This memory is reinforced and preserved at the Railway Museum. It represents a long gone time with nostalgia, familiarizes us with the past, taking a step back in time so as to showcase the history of the city. Currently, all the areas of the Museum host events, theatre plays, lectures etc., giving a breath of life to a historical venue.