CHANDIGARH: There's an adventure excursion coming on offer from the stable of the Indian Railways: A wildlife safari with a vintage steam engine. The 1930s steam loco was used to haul passengers between India and Pakistan, will now chug the famous tourist train between Delhi Cantonment and Sarisa wildlife tiger reserve at Alwar in Rajasthan.
The loco, built by the then Lancashire-based British locomotive builder Vulcan Foundries, was rehabilitated at the Amritsar railway workshop on Friday. "The loco will hit the tracks by November this year. India has now finally arrived on the international steam scene and is a pioneer in this field," said Ashwani Lohani, chief mechanical engineer, Northern Railways. He is also piloting a 'steam movement' in the country.
Because of its massive repair cost - Rs 10 lakh - and the days involved, the railway %officials have named the loco 'Angad' after the mythological figure from Ramayana. The repair work included rebuilding of tender body, axle replacement and re-fitting of leaf spring, motion component, brake-gear and cattle-guard.
"The monkey prince Angad was immovable when his feet were once planted firmly. Hence the name," said G C singh, deputy chief mechanical engineer, Amritsar railway workshop. Angadh is the third steam locomotive that was rehabilitated at Amritsar railway workshop after Akbar and Sher-e-Punjab last year.
Technically known as XE 3634, it is the only surviving X- class broad gauge locomotive in India at present which runs on steam. It is the heaviest among all steam locos so far to haul any train. With its engine weight of 198 metric tonne (MT) and 14 feet and eight inches, was the biggest in the world during 1920s.
The loco has a rare 2-8-2 wheel arrangement which renders it the vintage look 93 of these locomotives were built till 1946, of which 35 went to Pakistan and 58 were retained in India.