The Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) on January 18 (Wednesday) kept the antique Albion Bus of the Nizam’s era for public veiwing at the City Bus Terminal, adjacent to the Pandit Nehru Bus Station (PNBS).
The vintage vehicle was unveiled by two senior retired drivers of the Corporation in the presence of Secretary (Transport and Roads and Buildings) P. S. Pradyumna and APSRTC Vice-Chairman and Managing Director Ch. Dwaraka Tirumala Rao.
Both the officials boarded the bus, fondly called ‘Deccan Queen’, and inspected its seating pattern and model of the windows and tried their hand at the steering.
Mr. Tirumala Rao said that it was decided to showcase the vintage vehicle, which has a glorious history, for public viewing at the City Bus Terminal as a special attraction.
Deccan Queen is a 1932 model Albion vehicle, which was run by the road transport division of Nizam’s Guaranteed State Railway. The bus is a heritage asset of Nizam State Rail and Road Transport Department (NSR-RTD). ‘Deccan Queen’ was one of the 26 other Albion buses with a seating capacity of 19 and imported from London.
Till the early 1970s, the department operated the ‘Deccan Queen and the fleet of 27 buses covered the 400-km road network in the areas falling under the Hyderabad ruler’s jurisdiction.
The buses were arranged by the Nizam’s queen Zahera Begum. Moved by the plight of people travelling on foot from Nampally railway station to Narkatpally, she organised the bus services by investing ₹3.71 lakh.
The then Prime Minister of Hyderabad State Muhammed Akbar Hydari got 27 buses imported from London and the vehicles arrived in a ship to Bombay ( now Mumbai) from where, they were brought by road to Hyderabad in 27 days and allotted them to the first three depots established at Kachiguda, Narkatpally and Kazipet. The ‘Deccan Queen’ was first operated on the Charminar-Raniganj route.
In recognition of the Nizam’s queen’s service to the common man, the first letter in her name ‘Z’ was taken as the registration number of the buses.
The ‘Deccan Queen’ was brought to the Pandit Nehru Bus Station in 1990.