Against all odds the Fairy Queen, India’s oldest running steam locomotive is all set to make a comeback. Shunted off after rare parts of the loco were stolen last year, the Fairy Queen comeback is considered to be no less than miraculous.
The brass parts of the 156 year old engine, which are almost irreplaceable, were vandalized and stolen last year when the locomotive was parked in a railway shed. “The rare parts are being made at Perambur loco workshop in Chennai. We are hopeful of getting the engine back in October, after which it will be rolled out for tourists again,” said Ashwani Lohani, DRM (Delhi), Northern Railways.
The Fairy Queen was conceived in Leeds, United Kingdom in 1854 and embarked on its maiden voyage on 15th of August, 1855 from Howrah in West Bengal. The train was given the number 22 by The East Indian Railway. It was later consigned to line construction duty in Bihar until it was retired in 1908.
88 years later, the train was restored to life at Lohani. In After its revival, the Fairy Queen then entered the Guinness World Record for the oldest locomotive engine in the world. The train returned to commercial service July 18, 1997 and plied from New Delhi to Sariska National Park in Alwar, Rajasthan with a total seating capacity of 38 passengers.