Railways’ indifference to preserve Antiques: Vintage Weighing Scales of British era go missing at Railway Stations

CHENNAI: For years, these vintage weighing scales remained in a state of neglect. Now, the British-era machines have become a classic example of the railways’ indifference to preserve antiques. Two such weighing scales at the Guindy and Saidapet railway stations were removed recently to be sold as scrap, say sources.

Since the pieces were not brought to the Regional Rail Museum at the Integrated Coach Factory, sources said the artifacts were likely to be junked as scrap. “It was removed by a salvage team six months ago,” a railway official said. Imported from the UK, the scales were used to check excess luggage. Enquiries revealed the commercial department had return ed the weighing scales to the stores depot. Sources at the stores department said departments that consider an article unusable write to them.

“The objects are inspected and auctioned,” said the official. When the heritage value of the machines were pointed out, the official did not seem to know about it.

The Regional Rail Museum, which preserves antique pieces, said they had not received any weighing scale in the past year. R Elangovan, vice-president of the Dakshin Railways Employees Union said the railways should have taken efforts to preserve at least one scale.

Likewise, a heavy Cash Chest in a locked condition belonging to British era containing old British logos embedded on it was lying on Platform No.1 of Cumbum Railway Station of Guntur Division on South Central Railway unnoticed for decades.