British era engine to ferry tourists

British era engine to ferry tourists

The last of the erstwhile British era broad-gauge steam locomotive, manufactured way back in 1907 in Berlin and retired decades ago, is ready to chug out once again.

Until now, this rare vintage engine had been exhibited in New Delhi’s National Rail Museum.

Two months ago, the antiquated engine was relocated to the railway locomotive workshop in Amritsar with a view to restore its “lost glory”.  The now-overhauled engine is likely to be deployed for ferrying tourists.

The locomotive was used when the yesteryears ‘Patiala State Monorail Tramway’ was operational in Patiala district of Punjab in 1907. It was discontinued in 1927.  

The locomotive was close to the heart of the erstwhile Maharaja of Patiala Bhupinder Singh who used it to facilitate transport of men and material within the state.  Assistant Works manager, Amritsar, Satish Sharma said Rs 4 lakh have been spent on overhauling this engine to make it functional.

It would run at a maximum speed of just 30 km per hour and will be strong enough to pull three coaches, he said.

The locomotive workshop in border district of Amritsar, which the Railways took over from the Punjab government in 1956, is the only one in the Northern Railways which has the wherewithal to repair steam locomotives.

During the early century when the engine was first introduced, one of the objects of monorail tramway was to make use of the hundreds of mules that were being maintained by the Patiala State.

Apart from mules, bullocks were also used to tow the monorail before the steam engine was introduced on the route.

Another 47-year-old steam locomotive, christened Akbar after the Mughal emperor, is also being overhauled in the Amritsar locomotive workshop. The 103 tonne Akbar will be used for journey to Alwar and to ferry tourists for tiger-sighting at Sariska.

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