NATIONAL

From the museum to the rails

The East Indian Railway train on its first journey.

The East Indian Railway train on its first journey.  

Special Correspondent

Eastern Railway plans to run world’s oldest steam locomotive

Kolkata: The Eastern Railway is looking at setting a “world record” of having the oldest working locomotive.

It intends to put back on the rails the “EIR [East Indian Railways]-21” steam locomotive, manufactured in 1855 and considered the twin of “Fairy Queen” [EIR-22].

“It will be the oldest [working] locomotive in the world once it is put back on the tracks and we are able to run it,” Deepak Jha, Chief Public Relations Officer, Eastern Railway, told The Hindu from North Bengal on Sunday.

The authorities plan to spend Rs. 40 lakh on repairs and restoration, to begin this month.

The EIR-21 had initially run between Howrah and Raniganj in the 1870s.

Manufactured by Kitson, Thompson and Hewitson — locomotive builders in Leeds, United Kingdom — the locomotive was reclaimed from an Eastern Railway yard and subsequently displayed at the Howrah Railway Museum in April 2006.

Most steam engines were taken off the national railway network in the early 1990s.

“We would like to have the first trial run of the restored locomotive between Howrah and Bandel – a distance of 35 kilometres — within three months. Then the plan is to have a regular heritage service between these two stations for tourists,” Mr. Jha said.

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