The International Steam Pages
Working Steam in India 2006
Working Steam in India 2006 reported by Alexandre Gillieron, all pictures by him unless stated otherwise:
Metupalayam - Coonoor (Ooty line) visited Feb. 19th to 25th. We found all business running according to schedule with 4 different steam locos used on the rack section during our 7-days stay. No changes in the timetable with the 7:10am departure from Metupalaym and 16:15 back from Coonoor. Upper section is all diesel as usual. The oil-fired X was put in steam on one day but fortunately didn't made it on the line, so all working were in the hands of X during our stay. Time keeping is usually very good with trains arriving at Coonoor 20 minutes before schedule on some days. The rack section offers absolutely fantastic photo opportunities (strangely, very few good shots of this line can be found on the net or in the literature) for whom doesn't mind walking some kms off the beaten tracks. The Adderley bridge is definitely still in the shadow for the morning train, so not worth the 2.5 km walk. Locos are still doing well, being pushed to their upper limits with some good thrash, especially around Glendale.
This picture of Ooty shed was sent to me very recently by Jakob Stilling who persuaded his mother to record the scene as she was travelling in the area!
Coal India, Tipong Colliery (Assam)
Visited Feb. 28th. to March 3 rd. The visit was pre-arranged and accompanied by Mr. Ashok Sharma of Special Tours of India. We had to report at Tinsukia and Lekhapani Police Stations before proceeding (which proved to be very bureaucratic at Tinsukia and very friendly at Lekhapani). We stayed at the Digboi Tourist Lodge, which is very basic but clean and convenient (less than one hour drive to Tipong). It also offered nice breakfast and dinner. We also had excellent lunch breaks at the Tipong Colliery Guest House near the unloading station. Locos used were B-class 789 and DAVID, the smallest working steam loco on earth. Both engines are facing the mine. 789 is now green and DAVID was also given a new green paint with ‘Northeastern Coalfields’ on both sides and boiler details on the right side only. The reason for it (and also why it is facing the mine now) is because it was brought by truck to the Margherita fairgrounds some weeks ago, being exposed there for some high-ranking officials visiting the coalfields. 796 still in blue was out of service in the shed, waiting for spare parts from the Margherita workshop. According to the shed people, it should be running again within the next months. There are no other workable engines left other than these 3 steam and 1 diesel locos. The usual pattern of operation saw 789 and the diesel on the line and DAVID very busy shunting to and from the mines, though it was also sent to the unloading station on one morning. They were some interesting trains with loads of wood for reinforcement of the mine galleries on some occasion. Usually, up to 3 or 5 trains can be chased during daylight between the unloading station and the mine. Photo opportunities on this incredible system are unlimited, making it one of the most photogenic and interesting industrial railways I have ever seen. You won’t find here ugly electric poles or bulky houses usually encountered on Chinese systems… Fortunately, with its very limited accommodation and remote location, Tipong may hopefully remain off-limit for large visiting tour-groups. Up to now, pre-arranged ‘runpasts’, loco parts selling and other forms of idiotic money-corruption is unknown there, making it one of the very last real steam biotope on earth.
Rewari Steam Museum
Bernd Paschke visited on March 5th. He reports following locos in and around the shed :
WP 7161 steamable
YG 3415 waiting repair
The two WP's are mainly used for the movies industry. All four MG engines should be made operational 'during this year' according the shed people. However with the MG line to Delhi Cant removed, there are very few opportunities to run them anywhere with broad-gauging in full swing throughout the country...