“The refurbished DHR engine, christened ‘Wanderer', will be moved by road to Siliguri within a week”

The shrill whistle and huffing and puffing sound of the rehabilitated steam locomotive of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) is all set to be heard amidst the lush greenery of the hilly terrain once again.

Final testing is being carried out in the over 100-year-old ‘B' class narrow gauge steam loco at the Golden Rock Railway Workshop in the city where the engine was given a fresh leash of life to restore its operation from New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling in the DHR section.

The refurbished DHR engine, christened ‘Wanderer', is ready for dispatch and would be moved by road to Siliguri in West Bengal within a week, say workshop authorities.

A technical team from the over 80-year-old workshop would be sent to Siliguri to monitor the actual load testing and loco trial runs in the DHR section once the engine reaches there. A lot of planning and effort has gone into the loco rehabilitation work spanning over six months to put it back on track.

The rehabilitation work has been carried out without disturbing the heritage look of the coal-fired loco. Though the loco's crucial components such as boilers, cylinders, engine, link and boiler motion components have been changed, its under-frame and wheels have been retained, says a senior workshop official adding that the engine had been rehabilitated at a cost of Rs. 60 lakh. This is the last of the four DHR locos which was sent to the workshop for rehabilitation.

Originally built in 1892 by Sharp Steward & Co, Glasgow, Scotland, the tiny loco weighs 15 tonnes and can haul four coaches at a speed of 20 kilometres per hour in gradient and 40 kilometres per hour in plain. The engine's water capacity is 1,818 litres, while its coal carrying capacity is about 2 tonnes. The length of the loco is 5.8 m, with its height being 2.5 m and breadth 1.92 m.