Joyrides in 150-year-old steam locos to become reality by 2019
Joyrides in 150-year-old heritage steam locos could be a reality for tourists in New Delhi by next year as the National Rail Museum is restoring three such locos: the 1865 RamGoti loco, the 1920 Phoenix loco, and 1951 Fireless Locomotive. All three are being restored by a group of experts and would be made available for tourist use after a feasibility test. Here's more.
"We are restoring them (locos) for tourism purposes. The first one to be ready by this year-end is the Fireless loco and is likely to be in the NRM for tourist use," NRM Director, Amit Saurastri said. The other two would be ready by 2019.
Railways Ministry is actively working to boost tourism and showcase its over 160-year history. Each loco has a unique history. While Phoenix loco was last used at Bihar's Jamalpur for shunting purposes, RamGoti was used by the municipality in Kolkata for garbage disposal. Fireless Loco was called so as it had no boiler and instead there was a pressure vessel mounted on the under-frame.
In the Fireless Loco, steam was collected in the pressure vessel from a static boiler. It was used for shunting in areas of inflammable material such as oil, jute, etc. Due to the limited capacity of the steam accumulator, this locomotive had limited speed (18.5mph) and was limited to short area movements. This locomotive was last used in Sindhri Fertilizers, Jharkhand.
Officials say restoration of heritage locos take time as most of their parts are obsolete and thus difficult to find. Currently, tourists can take rides on the steam loco toy train every Sunday and the 1907 Patiala State Monorail every Thursday at Delhi's rail museum.