Steam runs again -- HGS #26761

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.

Among the mechanical contrivances introduced during the modern scientific age, perhaps nothing has caught the imagination of the common people so much as the steam locomotive, sometimes referred to as the "Iron Horse". There is still a fascination in the spectacle of a steam locomotive pulling a train, emitting its steam and smoke high into the air with a rhythmic exhaust sound.

HGS 26761, a steam locomotive manufactured in the year 1920 by W.M. Beardmore Company England has been revived by the Howrah Division of the Eastern railway recently and hauled a tourist train between Howrah and Bandel, a distance of approximately 40 kms on the 19th of September 1999. This is the 2nd major initiative on the Indian Railways to revive steam traction for tourist purposes, the first being the launch of the Fairy Queen, the oldest working steam engine in the World.

Commissioned in 1922 this Locomotive which initially worked on he Oudh and Rohilkhund Railway (0 & RR) and was subsequently transferred to the Eastern railway where it was based for maintenance in the Madhupur Locomotive shed in Bihar and worked trains in the Asansol Division. This Locomotive continued in active service till ' 1985 and once again ruled the tracks after 14 years on the 19th of September, 1999.

This Heavy Goods Superheated (HGS) class of tender Locomotive has a total weight of 103 tonnes and in its heydays could achieve a maximum speed of 56 kmph. This Locomotive has a wheel arrangement of 2-8-0 and has a length over buffers of 18.387 metres. The maximum tractive effort is 15457 kgs and the valve gear is Walschaert's.

On the 19th September 1999 this locomotive hauled a train consisting of two first class coaches, an AC chair car and an AC lounge Car. The train left Howrah at around 1000 hrs for Bandel and returned at around 1800 hrs. During this inaugural run the train carried Senior officials of Railways, Ministry of Tourism, West Bengal Tourism, Members of the Media, steam enthusiasts and others.