ZRTI seek 'Himalayan Bird' engine to revive the golden era of steam locomotives
The Zonal Railway Training Institute (ZRTI) , one of the largest training institute for railways in the world, is pursuing a proposal to tow down one of the oldest and original steam locos, from the high hills to the lakes.
The Zonal Railway Training Institute (ZRTI) , one of the largest training institute for railways in the world, is pursuing a proposal to tow down one of the oldest and original steam locos, from the high hills to the lakes. If the Railway Board nods a green signal to the proposal, the more than 100-year- old steam engine, once an integral part of the classic ’ Himalayan Bird’ train having operated between Siliguri and Darjeeling in the 19th century, would be brought down to be showcased in the ZRTI premises.
The institute was sanctioned a steam engine as a display model some time back. The initial plan was to bring an engine kept in the railway shed at Rajkot but transporting this meter gauge engine to Udaipur posed as a big problem. With most of the meter gauges converted into broader tracks, road transport seemed the only option to get the engine to Udaipur, however the project didn’t work out since the transportation expenditure estimate run into some 10 lakhs, an amount considered unfeasible to be spend on display models.
Considering the budget limitations the ZRTI proposed an option to seek a steam engine from Neemuch in Madhya Pradesh. Since the steam engines for narrow gauges were considerably of smaller size and easily transported in railway wagon itself, attempts were made to seek a narrow gauge engine.
The institute then wrote to the Heritage wing of the Railway Board seeking allocation for one of the steam locomotive from the legendry Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR), listed as the World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1999. “ The steam locomotive from DHR is a classic example of engines which ran on narrow gauges and it would be visual treat for young generation who would have never seen one” said Satya Prakash Mairh, Principal, ZRTI. However, it is only a proposal we have sent, we will follow it up in the meeting scheduled at Delhi this week, Mairh added. Meanwhile, space has been earmarked for a display model and platform has been raised with tracks for the vintage engine to rest, hopefully, if it gets allocated.
By Geetha Sunil Pillai