One of the best-kept secrets in all of India is the Rewari Steam Loco shed, just 80 km from New Delhi. Over a hundred years old, this fully functional facility that has 10 steam engines. Weighing in at 125 tons each these behemoths easily consume about 4,000 kg (8,818 pounds) of Coal and 5,000 litres (1,320 gallons) of water to cover a distance of around 80 km.
Impressed by the mileage statistics? You will love the snooze-to-speed detail: The engines need a mere 10 hours to heat up before they can begin their journey. Once on full steam they are capable of going up to 100 km per hour (62 mph).
But then, Steam engines are not about statistics.
They are mascots of an age when the journey was as important as the destination. Those who have traveled on trains powered by these gentle giants will always remember the rhythmic lullaby of the pistons, the hoot of the whistle, the wind in the hair and the speckles of fine coal dust that came with it. And yes, the chance of catching a few fiery embers if you were lucky enough to be close to the engine.
Feeling uncomfortable in the air-conditioned staleness of your ‘modern’ rail coach? You can remedy that, at least for a while. These engines will chug to life, once again on October 9 and 16 during the Commonwealth Games. These special heritage runs will also feature four all-wood coaches.
And if you do get a ticket to ride, remember to bring headgear and sunglasses. Because, sparks are sure to fly.
(Photo Courtesy: Degahk)
Those who cannot get on to the ride can ogle at engines displayed at the New Delhi, Old Delhi and the Delhi Cantonment stations. If you miss all this excitement, you can still see many of these beauties at the National Rail Museum.