Joy rides in 150-year-old steam locos to be a reality by next year
Joy rides in 150-year-old heritage steam locos could be a reality for tourists here by next year as the National Rail Museum is restoring three such locos, the oldest dating back to 1865. The Phoenix is a 1920 loco, RamGoti dates back to 1865 and Fireless Locomotive to 1951. All three are being restored by a group of experts and would be made available for tourist use after a feasibility test.
“We are restoring them 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 told PTI. The other two locos would be ready by next year, the director said.
The Ministry of Railways is actively working to boost tourism in its network and to showcase its more than 160 years of history. Each loco, an official said, has a unique history. While the Phoenix loco was last used at Jamalpur in Bihar for shunting purposes, RamGoti was used by the municipality in Kolkata for garbage disposal, they said.
Fireless loco was called so as it had no boiler and instead there was a pressure vessel mounted on the under-frame. The 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 (18.5 mph) and was limited to short area movements.
This locomotive was last used in Sindhri Fertilizers, Jharkhand. The official said that the restoration of such 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 Patiala State Monorail, a loco dating back to 1907, every Thursday at the museum.
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