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Tourism brings steam engines back on track

Jane Macbean is delighted to discover that the “mystic land of India” is also home to heritage smoking beauties. Rajat Arora reports.

delhi Updated: Jan 15, 2012 00:38 IST
Rajat Arora
Rajat Arora
Hindustan Times

Jane Macbean is delighted to discover that the “mystic land of India” is also home to heritage smoking beauties.

Macbean, a resident of UK, who has been living in India for the last two years, was amazed to see a steam engine rolling out on the mainline. So excited was she to travel on a steam engine train that she also brought her husband and little kids along to enjoy the journey.

“In UK, there are a few steam clubs that offer steam engine train journeys. But we never thought that we would be able to experience the same in India,” said Macbean, who got to know about the steam express from newspaper reports.

“Steam engines have their own charm, and didn’t want my children to miss this experience,” she added.

The black beauties are the latest frenzy and have found admirers in expats living in Delhi and foreign tourists.

These heritage steam engines, which were written off in the 90’s, are back on track from the shady sheds where they were left abandoned.

For those who think that they are no match for modern engines, the speedometer hitting 110kmph is enough to change their mind.

The first special tourist steam engine train was rolled out at Delhi Cant station on Tuesday and onboard was a group of 46 foreign tourists.

The first commercial journey of steam engines on the broad-gauge began with the iconic Akbar, the steam engine which made its last journey in 1992, and onboard were a group 46 foreign tourists including expats living in Delhi.

“Akbar, the engine was abandoned in the Saharanpur steam shed. It is no less than the iconic ferry queen. There will be many who shall see a steam engine working for the first time in their life,” said Vikas Arya, a senior railway officer.

The journey to Alwar costs Rs 10,200 each with one night stay and a safari in Sariska.

“It has just started. We hope the steam express will be a hit with Indian tourists as well,” said Atul Singh, Director, National rail museum.

First Published: Jan 15, 2012 00:35 IST