167-year-old loco back in service

INDIAN Railways has reintroduced the 167-year-old ‘Fairy Queen’ 2-2-2T British-built steam loco into occasional passenger service as part of changes to its long-running ‘steam express’ programme of tourist trains.

It first entered service in 1855.

The ‘Fairy Queen’ working its first passenger train for many years on February 11 from Delhi to Rewari. MOHIT CHOPRA

The veteran loco works the service on certain dates and on other dates Indian-built WP Pacific WP7161 is used.

In July 1997 Indian Railways reintroduced semi-regular steam operation with an excursion train from Delhi to Alwar via Rewari. Passengers on the two-day, one-night package visit Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary, where they can hopefully see Bengal tigers.

Part fares to or from Rewari were also available to enable passengers to visit the railway museum located in the old steam shed there.

Initially, the train was operated using the ‘Fairy Queen’ although this was discontinued in 2011 as main line use for the very old loco was considered too problematic because of the need for specially made parts to keep the loco operational.

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