Rewari’s 118-yr-old shed losing its ‘steam men’ | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Rewari’s 118-yr-old shed losing its ‘steam men’

Rewari’s 118-year-old steam locomotive shed, the only surviving one in India, is facing an uncertain future. The Railways is struggling to keep the shed, which was turned into a heritage site six months ago, running. Built in 1893, the shed is being managed by a team of 25 railway personnel, many of whom are now approaching retirement.

delhi Updated: Apr 17, 2011 01:57 IST
Avishek G Dastidar

Rewari’s 118-year-old steam locomotive shed, the only surviving one in India, is facing an uncertain future. The Railways is struggling to keep the shed, which was turned into a heritage site six months ago, running. Built in 1893, the shed is being managed by a team of 25 railway personnel, many of whom are now approaching retirement.

What’s worrying the Railways is that it doesn’t have enough people with practical expertise in steam engines— discarded years ago— to replace them when they’re gone.

The Railways stopped training its people in steam locos long ago. There is also a freeze in hiring. A desperate Northern Railway is now seeking permission from the higher authorities for an extension for these personnel, who are called ‘steam men’, thanks to their niche expertise.

Sources said getting an extension won’t be easy. Most of the team members, they said, will be gone in less than two years.

“Maintaining the locos is a specialised job. These men have spent a lifetime doing it. We don’t find this expertise anymore,” said Vikas Arya, divisional mechanical engineer and the man behind the revival of the Rewari shed.