Welcome to the Indian Steam pages!
One of the most enduring images of India is that of a hard working, smoke billowing steam train with a rural backdrop. With the closure of the last timetabled passenger steam service at Wankaner in western Gujarat in the year 2000, this scene has ceased to be a part of the local milieu. There are no doubt many who will always miss this inimitable part of traveling in India that had been there right through the entire existence of railways in India.
It is very difficult to analyse the fascination of steam or for that matter railways in general. It is obvious that they symbolize different things to different people. The unique qualities of a steam locomotive cast a spell upon many which other forms of traction have not been able to achieve. They personified power in a special manner.
As with the carthorse, one could see, sense and sometimes feel, the thrusts of pistons under the graceful directions of rods controlling the passage of steam. Steam locomotive possessed an individuality and personality which defied engineering logic. In fact, it could be claimed that of all machines created by man they came closest to being a living thing.
Furthermore, their day to day performance could be attributed to the skill and determination of the great men who drove them, many of whom developed an uncanny feel for the mood of the machine. In the words of Charlton Ogburn, author of Railroad - The Great American Adventure rhapsodizing the romance of the locomotive driver with the machine, "In the cab on a moonlit night, seeing the light flashing on the rods, the flames dancing in the firebox, looking back at the smoke trailing over the train, the steam gauge steady at 200 pounds and hearing the old girl talking in a language that only you and she understood. There is nothing like it in the world!"
Back to Indian Railways, the magic of YDs gliding down the western ghats with Dudhsagar falls in the backdrop, the volcanic eruption of WPs, the thunder of AWD and CWD, the gloom of Old Delhi, Ambala Cantt and Saharanpur railway stations brightened only by the shafts of sunlight filtering through the smoke are visual experiences which live on with you for the rest of your life.
This section of the website is devoted to the golden years of steam locomotives in India, an Indian summer that lasted over 125 years.