Heritage Transport Museum in Gurugram is first private institute to have a fully-functional steam locomotive
GURUGRAM: Recreating the magic of the bygone era of steam railways, the Heritage Transport Museum on Bilaspur-Tauru Road here has restored a 64-year-old steam locomotive. The museum has become the first private institute in India to have a fully-functional steam locomotive.
Built in 1953 by Arnold Jung Lokomotivfabrik, the locomotive was procured by the museum as scrap in October last year after persuading the Indian Railways (Heritage Cell).
A team of engineers led by M. S. Rangaswamy worked on the locomotive for over one month. The engine finally ran on a 100-foot track, specially built on museum premises, on Saturday afternoon.
The locomotive took hours to get going and in wondrous display of power and might, let off steam when shut down.
The scene was in contrast to the modern day electric or diesel locomotives that start instantly and never make a fuss.
The extraordinary sight, sound and smell were taken in by awestruck spectators.
Around 12-feet tall and 31-feet long, the locomotive weighs over 47 tons and can carry 1,320 gallons of water and needs over four tons of coal to feed its voracious appetite. It operates on a broad gauge and its wheel configuration is 0-6-0.
Tarun Thakral, founder and managing trustee of the Heritage Transport Museum, said that the restoration reaffirmed the museum’s philosophy of providing visitors an unparalleled experience.
The museum has spent over ₹12 lakh in the buying and restoration of the steam locomotive.
Mr. Thakral said that the cost of starting the engine each time was around ₹10,000 and the museum was looking for some sponsors so that it could operate the train on special occasions such as Republic Day and Independence Day.
Mr. Rangaswamy, a retired senior section engineer, said that the locomotive had not been operational for over two decades, but was in a fairly good condition.
“We faced a major challenge in procuring several parts that needed to be replaced. Though not of good quality, we managed to get most of the parts at Chawri Bazar. The restoration work started in March and was completed in 34 days. The first trial run was conducted on May 7,” said Mr. Rangaswamy, who has resurrected the worlds heaviest and largest locomotive as well.
The restoration work on the museum’s other steam locomotive, a 1921 Kerr Stuart, is due to begin in winter this year.
The museum, which is home to more than 2,500 curated objects, was opened to the public in 2013 and is India’s first comprehensive transport museum.