The Northern Railways has introduced a 117-year-old steam engine on the Kalka-Shimla heritage line which is attracting scores of foreign tourists in the region. The century-old steam engine on the Kalka-Shimla railway line, which was declared as the UNESCO’s world heritage line in 2008, has helped boost tourism in the Himalayan region.
According to a railway official, tourists from several countries arrive there to take a ride on the steam engine train. The official added that the steam engine has helped to promote the heritage culture of the country and also boosted the revenue of the Indian railways.
The railway is offering the ride for 20 km to 32 km on the Kalka-Shimla heritage line and has kept it running because of its historical importance. A woman tourist from the United Kingdom told ANI that the heritage engines are very authentic and that she will pass on the message to everyone back home to at least try it once.
In December 2019, Foreign tourists took a heritage ride on the world’s oldest locomotive steam engine between Egmore and Kodambakkam Railway Stations in Chennai. Around 70 tourists rode in several carriages coupled together, which was being pulled by a 164-year-old steam engine 'Express EIR21'.
The 164-year-old steam engine was originally shipped from England in 1855 and was the centre of attraction at the Steam Heritage Run at Chennai Egmore Railway station. After 1909, it was withdrawn from service and kept as an exhibit at Jabalpur Workshops and Howrah Station for more than 101 years.
During this period, several parts of the train got corroded and rusted while some parts were missing and some were not fit for use. Southern Railways Loco Works at Perambur reconstructed and revived the locomotive train in 2010 after which it was used in exhibits and heritage runs.
It was the ninth such heritage run operated by Southern Railway in Chennai Division and such heritage special runs were also conducted in Salem, Tiruchirappalli, Madurai and Thiruvananthapuram divisions.
(With inputs from agencies)