Chennai

Vintage steam locomotive turns out be a real charmer

EIR 21 was in service till 1909 and then was put on display at the Jamalpur workshop and Howrah station.

EIR 21 was in service till 1909 and then was put on display at the Jamalpur workshop and Howrah station.   | Photo Credit: The Hindu

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EIR 21 is the cynosure of all eyes at the Steam Loco Show

Wearing dark blue uniforms, the fireman dumped high-grade coal and wood into the fire box and the engine driver pulled the lever. Releasing a sharp whistle, the oldest steam locomotive — East India Railways 21 (EIR 21) — chugged out of the Perambur Loco Works yard on Saturday afternoon.

Hundreds of visitors, mainly children, were enthralled as the 1855 vintage engine rumbled ahead and back for few hundred metres, with steam hissing out and drops of coal and water spattering on those standing beside the tracks.

“I have seen only the new engines. This is the first time I am seeing a vintage engine. It is really amazing,” said V. Sai Srinivasan, an eight-year-old who had come with his father to see the locomotive run.

Weekly feature?

The Perambur Loco Works organised a Steam Loco Show on Saturday afternoon from 3 p.m to 5 p.m. “We plan to organise it on every Saturday. This will ensure that the engine is in running condition. The EIR 21 was in service till 1909. After that it was pedestalled at the Jamalpur workshop and then at the Howrah railway station. In 2010 we restored it,” said Arun Devaraj, chief workshop manager, Perambir Loco Works.

A glistening plate on the locomotive reads: Kitson Thompson Hewitson Engineers — 1855.

“An official told us that the maximum speed of this engine is around 45 kmph. But it really looks very beautiful. I wish to learn how it operates and how they maintain it,” exclaimed S. Hemant Kumar , a class IX student from Vepampattu. Even adults were amazed by the sheer beauty of the locomotive.

“The shrill whistle takes us back in time. My father used to speak about the old Anglo-Indian steam engine drivers,” said Vincent Francis, who had accompanied his son.

Officials said that if the ICF lake is restored and boating is started, it will promote tourism in the locality.

“The Steam Loco Show at the Perambur Loco Works, boating in the ICF Lake and a visit to the Rail Museum can be a good combination,” said an official.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 2:09:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/vintage-steam-locomotive-turns-out-be-a-real-charmer/article30482053.ece

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