THE ARMOURED Štefánik train will travel to the Netherlands where it will be on display for enthusiasts of old train technology. Marking the 300th anniversary of the signing of the Peace of Utrecht in the Dutch city of the same name, the local railway museum is organising one of the biggest exhibition projects in Europe concerning history and railways, called Trains in War. [The Peace of Utrecht comprised a series of individual peace treaties to end the War of the Spanish Succession, and was signed in the Dutch city of Utrecht in March and April of 1713. The treaties between several European states, including Spain, Great Britain, France, Portugal, Savoy and the Dutch Republic, helped end the war - ed. note.]

“The museum of the Slovak National Uprising received an invitation to the event from the head of the Dutch museum, as the project of our restored IPV-I armoured train, Štefánik, has [received] Europe-wide interest,” the marketing manager of the SNP Museum in Banská Bystrica, Dalibor Lesník, told the TASR newswire. The technical circumstances of the transport of the whole train set, as well as the costs connected with it, will be dealt with by the Dutch side, he added.

Part of the Dutch project will involve the presentation of 16 train sets from all over the world. The SNP Museum’s project, called “Oživili sme pancierový vlak” (“We Revived an Armoured Train”) will consist of the exhibited set of the armoured train and will be accompanied by various events, including exhibitions about the Slovak National Uprising and the armoured trains that were used in it.

“The accompanying events are covered by the SNP Museum. Currently, a vast general overhaul of the original machine-gun carriage is being done – which is one of our exhibits – as well as that of the original tank carriage, which is owned by the Railway Depor Zvolen,” Lesník explained. A festive opening ceremony will take place on March 27 in Utrecht, and the Dutch side expects the Dutch royal family and top government officials to participate. The project will end on September 1 when the train will be brought back to Slovakia.

“This is one of the most important museum projects done abroad in recent years, and also an important presentation of Slovak cultural heritage, [in terms of] its preservation and making it accessible,” Lesník summed up. On the occasion of the 65th anniversary of the Slovak national Uprising, the SNP Museum – in cooperation with several partners – reconstructed and launched into operation the set of the armoured train IPV-I Štefánik. The reconstructed armoured train participated in several presentations and educational events between 2009 and 2011, when it was driven for 1,744 kilometres on Slovak rails and seen by 73,501 visitors, and 120 lectors from among secondary-school students were trained on it.