‘New’ world’s oldest operational steam loco

TWO iconic UK-built Indian steam locomotives have returned to steam in recent years.

Former East India Railway (EIR) 2-2-2 No. 21 Express, built by Kitson, Thompson and Hewitson in Leeds in 1855 (W/No. 480), has been restored to operational condition. 

In 2018 the loco was used for some short demonstration runs in Chennai (formerly Madras), but in February the loco worked a main line special train organised for British enthusiast society the LCGB by TravelPals, which saw it operate a one-coach special train from Nagercoil Junction to the southernmost station in India at Kanyakumari – a 15.2km journey.

Still in steam aged 164! EIR No. 21 Express after arrival at Kanyakumari with the LCGB special train on February 7. CHRIS LEWIS


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