Steam Trains in India
Indian Railways started their journey way back in 1853, the distance was short but the milestone wasn’t. From there on when we started on Steam power and now that we run on electric power lot of things have changed. Indian railways have grown into a massive organization, and now are reported to be the 4th largest unit in the world and largest employer of people in the world. Beyond this the services, the facilities have changed a lot without much compromise in the fares of the travel. However much it has grown, there are some things which have remained and has is being considered as a heritage site and one of those are the steam engines for certain routes. Let’s have a look at the trains which run on steam engines in India.
A steam locomotive is nothing but an engine which is propelled by steam power, when Indian railways started off most of the trains ran on steam engine. It is later in the last century that we transitioned to better means of engines. However we still have a few trains running on Steam power and they are:-
Fairy Queen: The fairy train is a luxury train and runs on steam power. The train is one of the few which runs on the basis of other luxury trains; it starts only in the month of October and runs till April only. It covers Delhi, Alwar and the national sanctuary Sariska. The duration is short and the whole journey finishes off in a day and half. The train runs only within the stipulated month and runs only on second and fourth Saturday of every month.
Nilgiris Mountain Railways: A part of the Mountain railways Zone in India, the most of the trains that ply on these Nilgiris hills run on steam engine. There were plans of modernization in this route and it was supposed to convert into electric trains but however; UNESCO took this as a heritage site and since then there have been only Steam engine travels for this part of railways. The route covers the distance of between Mettupalayam and Ooty. Quiet a lot of Indian movies have been shot on this route, it is a very picturesque route and one of the best tourist spots in Southern India for the summers.
Darjeeling Himalayan Railways: This route is also a part of the Mountains railway zone and most of the trains that run on these routes are also using steam engines. Steam Engines add to the tourist attraction and most of the routes are meant for tourist promotion. In this route one can actually view the Kanchenjunga peak, the tallest peak in the Himalayan range in India. The trains plying on these routes are called as special Tourism trains as one of the tasks of these trains are to promote tourism.
The major task of all the tourist steam engine trains is to promote tourism and attract more people. The ticket booking of these trains are done using the normal IRCTC site and needs to booked in advance to avoid the rush of tourists.