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Saturday, October 26, 2013

the fairy tale run of Fairy Queen at Chennai


Dear (s)

First of October 2005 - It was otherwise normal Saturday morning, but for rail enthusiasts it was a day with difference.

For one could see on track, their dreamgirl ! (rather old lady).  The refurbished Fairy Queen was put to track test upto a suburban station called villivakkam.   .  This was a sort of a landmark overhaul – akin to an Open Heart Surgery, since all the 120 0dd boiler tubes made of copper were replaced with new ones.   Whoever said that queens have soft hearts should see the hard hearted – nay, copper hearted queen.

The Fairy Queen, a 2-2-2WT BG loco, is one of the oldest working steam locomotives in the world, dating from 1855. It was built by Kitson & Co. in January 1855 and supplied to the East India Railway Company, and began working in August 1855 as EIR #22. It was withdrawn from service in 1909 and preserved, and later moved to the National Rail Museum at New Delhi, where it was "revived" in 1996, and in 1997 it began regularly hauling a tourist train between Delhi and Alwar.
The Fairy Queen is believed to be the oldest steam loco in the world that is in regular revenue-earning service now. There are a couple of locos that are even older that have been restored to working order, but they have been steamed only for special occasions (The Lion (1838) in the UK, steamed in 1930 and restored in the 1950's and steamed a few times since then; and John Bull at the Smithsonian in the USA, also of the 1830's, restored a couple of times over the years and steamed a few times in recent years).

The legend has it that once (recently)  a high ranking dignitary from the British High Commission offered to buy the loco for 30 mn pounds for  the York Museum?   But the Government politely turned down the offer.

With  Regards,
S. Sampathkumar

PS : Circulated in Oct 2005 and posted on blog now. 21.11.2011

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