Railway Board's Directive
The Railway Board issued a directive in the year 2001 to all zonal railways to have at least one section earmarked for running steam locomotives on it.
The Eastern, NorthEast Frontier, Central, Western & Northern Railways were the first to make an effort in this direction. The following is the activity carried out on each railway:
Eastern Railway's Howrah Division steamed up a retired HGS class BG steam locomotive and started running steam specials from Howrah to Bandel.
Northeast Frontier Railway's New Guwahati shed staff revived an old MAWD class Metre Gauge steam locomotive and this loco successfuly hauled a tourist special train from Guwahati station to Pandu. Such Steam Specials were run as a package tour for tourists in collaboration with Assam Tourism and included a trip down the Bhramaputra River. The steam special would haul its load of passengers to Pandu from where the river cruise would begin. The tour was received well by Indian as well as foreign guests.
In another effort, a YG class MG steam loco was steamed up for a special run by the Badarpur shed staff and was run on the Barak Valley Line.
Central Railway's Parel workshop and Neral Shed successfuly steamed up and ran a DHR 'B' class loco on the Neral Matheran hill section. This loco was specialy brought in from NFR and is now stationed at Neral loco shed. CR now plans to run steam special on a regular basis.
Western Railway's Pratapnagar workshop revived an old ZB class NG steam loco and got it steamed up to work a special train from Pratapnagar station in Baroda to Dabhoi. The loco was later transferred to Northern Railway's Amritsar workshop for possible working on the Kalka Simla Railway.
Northern Railway's Amritsar workshop recently overhauled and put into service an old 'KC' class steam loco, no 520 on the Kalka Simla Railway and successful trial runs were held in Sept 2001. NR plans to run steam specials through the year.
Steam Preservation Efforts
The photos below depict steam loco preservation efforts by the railways, private organisations and individuals. More images will be added on to this list as and when we receive such contributions from members & non-members. Watch this space for more....
'W' class 585 of the Bilimora-Waghai section of WR is seen on a BG flat car at Bandra in Mumbai. This loco is the only surviving loco from that branch line after steam gave way to diesels some years ago.
A 'B' class from the DHR preserved outside Rail Bhavan in New Delhi.
'F' Class 716 of the Barsi Light Railway of CR was earmarked for preservation at one of the regional rail museums. Here it is seen lying at the Pune goods yard awaiting its future. Pic was taken in June 1996.
An example of a private preservation effort. 'F' class, No.721 of the Barsi Light Railway was photographed in a preserved condition in Dec 99 at the Country Inn Car Park at Kosi Kalan (South of Delhi on the Delhi-Mathura main line)
An industrial shunter, numbered L-3 lies unused at a steel plant. The fate of many such industrial shunters is unknown.
The 2 examples above show unused MG steam locomotives lying in the sidings of the many private sugar mills in Uttar Pradesh. Their future? Unknown..
Other Preservation Efforts
This section depicts efforts towards preserving an old steam crane, steam generator and an antique 4 wheeler wagon. They were were discovered by Mr.PJ Singh, Secretary, ISRS. Efforts have been made since to save and restore them.
Steam Generator, 1907
Photograph taken by ISRS of a Steam Powered Generator presently lying in front of the Main Gate of Yadvindra Gardens. When the Gardens were the property of the Maharaja of Patiala, this Steam Engine was imported to run a generator for the illumination of the Gardens, during the royal visits. The engine is in a very good condition but does not blend with the aesthetics of the ancient architecture of the Yadvindra Gardens.
It has been requested by ISRS to have the Engine shifted to the National Rail Museum, New Delhi. This probably is the only survivor of its time. The name plate details the following - 1. Ransomes & Jefferies Engineers Ipswich, England and 2. Siemens Brothers Dynmo Works Date: 1907 Capacity 19 KW DC.
KSR Recovery Train, 1903
Recovery Train No.404 - 4 Wheeler, C.R.Turner Ltd., Langley Hill, England 1903. Painted in original livery. Tools - Pick Axes & Jacks made by Builder R.C. Gibbons Birmingham.
Also seen in Kalka station yard were: 1 SL Class No.92 4 - Wheeler Coach (wooden bodied), now condemned but can be restored, Silver Plated Glass Holders from NWR and Stamped Push Cocks, Towel Racks, Curtain Rod Old Lanterns.
Steam Crane, Kalka Yard
Parked mutely amidst all kinds of undergrowth, it majestically reflects the glorious period of early mechanical age. What makes it unique, is the wooden one piece boom with scars of nearly 100 years of use, beautiful castings, stabilizing jacks on four sides, and sliding counter weight. Further to this, it is hand operated.
The makers are T.WORSDELL ENGINEER BIRMINGHAM, but with no date of manufacturing.
The Crane is a very rare piece and probably the only survivor of its kind and it should be preserved by shifting it to the NRM, New Delhi.