The ‘Fairy Queen’, the world’s oldest surviving functional steam engine, is once again ready to haul a heritage train from here to Rewari today after a gap of five years. The train, a great attraction among steam engine lovers across the globe, will run between Delhi Cantonment station and Rewari from February 11 for a single day trip, according to a release.
The train hauled by steam locomotive will begin its journey from Delhi Cantonment at 10.30 AM and is expected to reach at Rewari at 1 PM. It will start at 4.15 PM in the return journey and is expected to reach Delhi Cantonment at 6.15 PM.
The locomotive was constructed in 1855 by Kitson, Thompson and Hewitson at Leeds, in England and reached Kolkata in the same year.
On arrival, it was given fleet number “22” by its owner, the East Indian Railway Company, not receiving a name until 1895. Initially, the 5 ft 6 in (1,676 mm) gauge locomotive was used to haul light mail trains in West Bengal, operating between Howrah and Raniganj, and during the Indian Rebellion of 1857 hauled troop trains.
It was later consigned to line construction duty in Bihar, where it served until 1909.
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It was restored and given a special spot in the newly- built National Rail Museum at Chanakyapuri, in New Delhi which was opened to public 40 years back on 1st February, 1977.
The locomotive was restored to full working order in 1997, in preparation for its first mainline journey in 88 years and its return to commercial service on July 18.
It was certified by the Guinness Book of Records in 1998 as the world’s oldest steam locomotive in regular operation.
The following year, the train received a National Tourism Award for the most innovative and unique tourism project from then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.