Steam update -- Spring 2000

This article was originally published by the Indian Steam Railway Society (ISRS) in its newsletter, and is reproduced here by permission, which is gratefully acknowledged. Copyright for the material here rests with the ISRS and the author(s) of the article. The ISRS is the premier organization in India engaged in preservation and efforts to promote awareness of the country's railway heritage.

This article originally appeared in the ISRS Newsletter No. 1, Spring 2000.

YG Locomotives for Royal Orient Express YG 3724 which was seen hauling the RO last April has been condemned at Rewari Shed due to a frame failure. In January 2000, another ex-Wankaner YG loco 4252 was seen along with 3438 at the helm of affairs of RO. The worrisome news however is that 4252 was not in great condition and the train had to be assisted from the rear by a diesel locomotive. 3415 is under maintenance and likely to return in February and 4252 will be then kept on stand-by duties.

Wankaner This last regular steam shed in India trudged its way into the Y2K year. Latest reports reaching us however suggest that two diesel rail buses have arrived at Wankaner and likely to be operational shortly. It was also envisaged that 26th January would be the last working day for steam here. These reports however could not be confirmed at the time of going to the press.

Locos sold to USA YPs 2257 and 2805, were overhauled by Loco workshop, Ajmer and were trial run on Morvi - Wankaner line in December 99. The locos are now ready for despatch to US, which will be their new home.

WP Locomotives WP 7015 and 7161 arrived at NRM from Saharanpur on their own steam on 16/11/99, where they will be stored pending a decision about their future running. Western Railway subsequently requested WP 7161 for a special run on the occasion of celebration of 100 years of Churchgate HO. The extensive celebrations planned at the beginning of the year however fizzled out.

The locomotive is presently stored at the Bandra Marshalling Yard loco shed and latest reports reaching us suggest that the loco may not be run at all as was decided earlier since the authorities in charge have developed cold feet!

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway We are proud to announce that on the 2nd Dec. 1999 Darjeeling Himalayan Railway has become the 22nd World Heritage Site of India and the 2nd Railway site in the world to achieve World Heritage status.

The three NDM-6 diesel locomotives arrived at New Jalpaiguri in early December. After extensive trial runs on the NJP -- Sukna plain section, the first two-coach diesel hauled train made its way to Darjeeling on the Christmas eve. The subsequent status of steam on DHR is not very clear. It was however confirmed that the Kurseong -- Darjeeling school train as well as Darjeeling -- Ghoom excursion special train are still on steam and will remain so in future.

Nilgiri Mountain Railway NMR continues to be 100% steam on the rack section between Mettupalaiyam and Coonoor. Three X class locomotives are being totally rebuilt at Golden Rock workshops. NMR now offers private rail excursion tours on this line where you can actually book the entire train for a private party. It is called Heritage Steam Chariot - Steam engine train sight-seeing and picnic tour. Ooty to Runnymede & Back covering the following stations-Ooty, Lovedale, Ketti, Aruvankadu, Wellington, Coonoor and Runnymede.

1. Maharaja coach - Rs. 500/- per head (only 12 seats)
2. Special Coach - Rs. 200/- per head

Tour rates include soft drinks, lunch tea & snacks. Concession for school students and bulk bookings is also available.

Dep. Ooty 10.00 am
Arr. Ooty 17:00 pm

Incidentally this is also the only steam working into Ooty now. All scheduled steam hauled runs by SR are from Mettupalaiyam to Connoor only and further haulage upto Ooty is by a diesel locomotive.

WP/P 7200 AT NRM This first prototype WP built by Baldwin Locomotive Works, USA arrived in India in 1947. It was in active service till the mid-eighties when it was ear marked for preservation at the Delhi Museum. Recently it was felt that since this is the most important preserved WP locomotive, it should be kept in working order. Through the efforts of the museum staff and volunteers from FN RM, the locoo was steamed up on four occasions and it was found that it is suitable for mainline special runs. However before that it will have to be overhauled in one of the workshops and go through a tube change, which have corroded heavily in the past 15 years of inactivity.

Fare information is included for indicative purposes and is no longer valid. Contact information for the tour package that was included in the original ISRS news update has been omitted as being out of date.