Railways not keen on getting back Matheran’s first ever Locomotive

08-01मुंबई Mumbai: The Indian Railways on Monday said they are not interested in buying one of the first four original steam locomotives of the heritage Matheran Light Railway (MLR) which have been put up on sale by the Railworld Museum at Peterborough, UK. The MLR 740 has been in the museum for the past thirty years.

On April 10, it was reported that the present-day generation of Sir Adamjee Peerbhoy, who built the Neral-Matheran railway route over a century ago, wanted the railways and the government to bring back an original locomotive that operated on the MLR.

“We will not be interested in buying the engine as we already several of a similar type here,” Subodh Jain, Railway Board Member (Engineering), told.

The present-day generation of the Peerbhoy family was not happy with the railways’ decision. “First of all, the locomotive should not have gone out of India. But now that it is up for sale, it needs to be brought back by the railways,” said Ali Akbar Adamjee Peerbhoy, the second great grandson of Sir Adamjee Peerbhoy.

“The locos had been bought by the Peerbhoy family, how could the Indian Railways give it out to another country? If I remember correctly, the engine had been put up on display outside CST, then one day it was removed,” Ali Akbar added.

The MLR 740 was donated to Britain by the Indian government in 1985 in recognition of services towards the establishment of India’s National Railway Museum. The engine was acquired by the Amberley Chalk Pits Museum and arrived in UK on November 28, 1986. It was donated to Railworld Museum in 1991.

Sources said the four novel steam locomotives had been bought specially for the mountainous stretch from Messrs. Orienstein & Koppel, Germany, in 1907. They were made especially for the narrow curves and steep climbs of the Matheran hills.

Of the original four engines – MLR 738, MLR 739, MLR 740, MLR 741 — that survive today, MLR 740 has been in the UK for the last three decades.

The Railworld Museum said that the locomotive will be sold to someone with the resources and commitment to restore and operate the Berlin-built locomotive with access to the public.

The sale is being managed on behalf of the trustees by The International Railway Preservation Society (IRPS).