The International Steam Pages
Notes - India, 1982-5, Round 2
Terry Case writes about his travels for steam. Further tales will follow from time to time covering more of Australia, India, South Africa, Indonesia and Pakistan.
Click here for the Case Notes Index, which includes many earlier Indian tales.
Terry had previously visited Gwalior in 1982, click here for that visit.
Transports of delight? Due to the petrol strike horse drawn Tongas were doing good business and an elephant got a turn on freight duty carrying sacks past some colonial era buildings.
On 3rd / 4th January 1983 I made my second trip to Gwalior, again I was thwarted from lineside chasing as a fuel strike saw most taxis and auto rickshaws off the road. Thankfully most of the foul smelling trucks and buses that belched black smoke were withdrawn. Trains were noticeably full, although how many paid a fare?
The broad gauge still provided entertainment, one morning I found a WG at the head of a block oil train, appearances can be deceptive and this turned out to be a pilot engine that had arrived from Jhansi to clear the yards at Gwalior. It did make a fine sight lifting the heavy train out of the station area passing WG 8843 on the Agra passenger and then storming upgrade towards a yard.
On the 4th I visited the shed where I was made welcome, the shed foreman told me he had plenty of engines; but hardly any were fit for work and they were going to have difficulty finding power for the afternoon trains. All the modern NH/5 class built by Nippon in 1959 were awaiting repairs.
A NH/2 Mikado (K.S. 1922) being prepared.
NM Pacific (W.B. 1931) appeared to being given a boiler washout.
The following pictures had been taken on the previous day:
NH/4 756 (Baldwin 1948), had distinctive American features
ND 744 a 4-6-4 waits departure time on the afternoon train to Bhind
As the shadows started to lengthen, ND 744 is next seen at the junction of the two surviving branches.
Finally, as the light died ND 747 followed on the train to Sheopur Khan, note the non-standard 4 wheeled carriages, I guess they had been used to strengthen the train owing to the strike.
I had one last visit on 16th January 1989 just as the system was dieselised.
747 again, but now waiting the scrapper’s torch.
An NM class was in use on pilot as the last of its coal was used before it too was withdrawn.
A few NH/4s & 5s remained to cover a 3 day freight diagram, more diesels were expected in the following weeks replacing the remaining steam survivors to join 757 waiting to be scrapped.
I joined the shed master to look down as his fitters were coming to terms with the new motive power. In the background the new depot for these engines was being constructed. Whilst I had failed to obtain the lineside shots I wanted, I had seen a fascinating railway system in its transition period.
Other Round 2 Indian Tales: