Normal Weight For 5 Feet 4 Inches Female 30 Years The Days of the Chhuk-Chhuk – Even in India, Old Steam Trains Bring Out the Crowds

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The Days of the Chhuk-Chhuk – Even in India, Old Steam Trains Bring Out the Crowds

India’s heritage of steam trains still brings in throngs of people. In Delhi, from gun-toting infants to ancient former signalmen, they literally piled onto the tracks last week, brawling with the television cameras of at least four broadcasting stations. In an effort to fill 100 bound files in the Brussels archives against every health and safety regulation, people unhindered from the green plastic grass and red carpet onto the tracks.

A steam locomotive heritage parade marked the end of Railway Heritage Month. Shri Lalu Prasad, Hon’ble Minister of Railways was the Chief Guest. The other was Sir Mark Tully, a former BBC Delhi correspondent and vice-president of the Indian Railways (IRS). Mark is a guru in his own right.

After most of his 40 years in India (and indeed born in Calcutta, where his father was then stationed), he is a sort of Grand Old Man, regarded with about the same emotions of respect and affection befitting his Saddhu-like status. Being seen with him attracts more attention than a formal promenade with Tony Blair.

That’s not an exaggeration. When Sir Mark once walked up the steps of Government House in Delhi with our honorable Prime Minister, the crowd went wild, but it wasn’t Tony Blair who caught their attention. They shouted at Mark Tully in Hindi.

Several other dignitaries are present: the Mayor of Delhi, members of the Railway Board, the President of the IRS and a whole host of very smart and important people. They sit on the platform in beautifully decorated upholstered chairs covered in white paint and perched on plastic grass. On the opposite platform, there is a whole scene of Indian history with children waving colorful flags and a historical narrative about Indian railways in full swing as men run up and down the boards with the trains moving.

Nobody pays much attention to it. Despite a valuable collection of not just VIPs, but VVIPs and the war on terror, security is conspicuously absent, apart from the presence of a gorgeous chocolate brown labrador led by a soldier along the seat and his tail wagging enthusiastically.

It is very Indian that a normal regular train, its 24 battered green and cream scarecrows, so familiar to the 13 million people who travel on Indian railways every day, throws its passengers into this pageantry. In fact, not once, but twice, passenger cargo is unloaded into the fray. People are moved to the exit, they are not pleased to be denied this opportunity. Street theater like this is a part of life in Delhi and instantly gains an audience.

Now the coolies are cleaning up the back edges adorning the front row of comfortable sofas labeled Railway Board. Compere seeks silence in different languages. “Please be seated, everyone. No one pays the slightest attention to it. Someone is screaming into the microphone, partly in Hindi, alternating with regular “hello, hello, hello, testing, testing, testing” and lots of feedback.

Flowers and water bottles are now in place for VVIPs who are probably more than just VIs. Even the railway authority has not yet received such magnificence. Again the sniffer dog comes and obediently sniffs along our legs. An Argentinian gentleman introduces himself and his wife and engages in an engaged conversation. He wonders what a white Western European female is doing here.

The welcoming party begins to assemble, guarded by soldiers and various hangers-on. Mark arrives, looking very dapper in a lemon shirt and burgundy herringbone waistcoat. Suddenly there is complete silence. The minister welcomes all; cameras capture the moment from the center of the tracks, and like media anywhere in the world, they practically trample each other to death in their determination to get the best shot. There are crying babies, children running around the VIP chairs, and apparently many people who are neither media nor guests but found their way in without a hitch.

The soldier’s bottom is literally in my face. The couch is moved to make room for the broadcast and the bottom is moved a few centimeters, but more and more media find their way into the track, though it’s hard to say whether by design or gravity.

We are literally tied now. I’m not quite sure if that’s to put us off mauling Mark Tully, or trying to get a free ride on the Fairy Queen, the oldest locomotive still on the line, built in 1855 in Leeds and the pride of Indian Railways. Company.

This pièce de résistance (he has respect for cross-cultural relations) chuk-chuks along the platform in his green and gold, at once dignified and friendly. Colorfully dressed children waving flags and blowing plastic whistles add to the feeling that we have all slipped back in time to a more romantic, less menacing era when children could be children and railways were elegant, grand and somehow symbolic of all that was best in the world. the newly industrialized world of the mid-19th century.

Next comes…..

Queen of fairies

This Guinness World Record holder engine is the pride of Indian Railways. It is the oldest working locomotive in the world. Built in 1855 by Kitson Thompson and Hewitson of Leeds, this engine was re-commissioned by popular demand from 27 September 1997, regularly running tourist trains between Delhi and Alwar. This engine was the first exhibit brought to the National Railway Museum in Delhi at the time of its foundation stone laying in 1971. This locomotive is said to have pulled military trains to Raniganj during the Indian War of Independence in 1857. The engine weighs 26 tons, has a gauge of 5 ft. 6 in., a coal capacity of about 2 tons, a 2-2-2T WT wheel arrangement and a Stephenson valve gear.

Other steam trains on display:

XE-3634

Built by Vulcan Foundry Company Ltd in England in 1930, this engine was commissioned by Indian Railways in 1931 on the GIP Railway, now the Central Railway. The Madhya Pradesh Electricity Board at Korba purchased the engine in 1979. The gauge is 5 feet 6 inches, the weight is 196.42 tonnes and it is nearly 79 feet long. Its wheel arrangement is 2-8-2, its piston stroke is 30 feet, its water capacity is 6,000 gallons, and its coal capacity is 14 tons.

WAR CLASS AWE-22907

This engine is one of the war design locomotives procured on a large scale in the early 1940s and was used for both passenger and freight services. Built by Baldwin Locomotive Works, Philadelphia, in 1943, it was owned by the Great Indian Peninsula Railway. Manufacturer number 69703, GIP #6128 and CR #22907 identify the engine. It weighs 183 tonnes, has a Walshaets valve gear, two external cylinders, a 5ft 6in track and a 2-8-2 wheel arrangement

WL-15005

Given the majestic name of Shere-e-Punjan, this engine had the privilege of hauling the last broad gauge steam train on Indian Railways. This historic run took place between Firozpur and Jallandhar on 6th December 1995. Usually hauling mail/express trains, it was assigned to the Southern Railway and was based at Shonanur Shed. It was later transferred to the Northern Railway where it was originally established at the Bhatinda shed. From there she was moved to Ludhiana and finally to Firozpur from where she retired. The engine was brought to the National Railway Museum in January 1996. Built in 1955 at the Vulcan Foundry, it has a 5ft 6in gauge, 4-6-2 wheel arrangement and now resides at the Steam Center in Rewari.

More to come….

WP-7200

The WP ball nose locomotives were the mainstay of broad gauge passenger train service on Indian Railways for a very long time until the last steam engine was retired in 1995. This exhibit, numbered WP-7200, is one of 16 prototypes received from the US prior to the commencement of their of production at Chittaranjan Locomotive plants. This engine was built by Baldwin Locomotive Works, Philadelphia, in 1947 and was owned by the GIP Railway (later Central Railway). It has a gauge of 5 feet 6 inches, weighs 102.4 tons and has a 4-6-2 wheel arrangement. It was withdrawn from service in May 1987.

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