HYDERABAD: Time: 5.25 p.m. Date: October 14. Location: Platform No. 10, Secunderabad railway station.
As Railway Minister Lalu Prasad waved the flag, the long steam whistle followed by a gush of black smoke from 1962 WP 7200 model steam locomotive Ruby Queen was drowned in majestic applause. On its inaugural run to Falaknuma as part of the SCR's ruby jubilee celebrations, the heritage train had only one stop Kachiguda. The `queen' was enthusiastically received by people who gathered atop houses along the tracks. There were road users and those on platforms of stations it crossed en route hooting for it.
The beautifully decked engine lugging seven coaches had everyone stop in their tracks to let their eyes widen in surprise before waving hands. For the privileged few on board, it surely was a never before experience. Meghna in fourth class and her sister Madhu Naina in eighth class, both studying in St.Ann's High School, Secunderabad, were elated.
The gust of steam engine
Meghna got an `uncle,' a fellow traveller, to hold her as she leaned out of the door to steal glimpses of the engine even as she furiously waved to onlookers. The highlight was undoubtedly the 33-seater vice-regal coach RA 29, built in 1921, for the Prince of Wales on a State visit to India. Chief Mechanical Engineer, South Central Railway, Arun Bhagra and his team had to redo the interiors of the coach.