The International Steam Pages
Steam in India, October 1998
Heinrich Hubbert's report originally appeared on the main Asia page but I have now added some pictures he has sent me.
The Royal Orient continues to be steam-powered on the stretch up to Rewari. A minor change is, that when the rake reaches Delhi Cant. and passengers leave their train in the morning around 7.00, both YG - in immaculate condition - are detached and make it light engine towards Sahrei Rohilla (to be turned on the triangle at Kisanganj) while the rake is hauled by diesel-power to Rohilla for maintenance. This means the steam-train cannot be photographed in the section between, where were some interesting positions around Patelnagar.
The only loss was the 89/90 turn between Indore and Ratlam. I came to know, that Nick Lera witnessed the last run in the middle of the year.
Situation unchanged. Because of devasting monsoon-rains, the town of Navlaki Port was destroyed and I was told it is a ghost-town now. The railway has been discontinued and all trains end now in Lawanpur. Salt-traffic was not restarted by the end of the month but an empty rake with 21 coaches and caboose was hauled by a YG up to Lawanpur. Loco returned light.
Only 4 locos are in running order here. Trains 331/2 and 387/8 remained steam. 331/2 is now the most impressive regular steam-run on the entire subcontinent. However, by the end of the month one loco suffered a break of its frame and the train was dropped for some days.
The banker here was shiny YG 3430 with smoke-deflectors which lacked the filthy shunter
The conversion of the Rajkot - Veraval corridor came virtually to an halt. No progress was observed since my last visit in March/April. Jetalsar staff and other railwaymen confirmed the delay in the work due to the "lack of funds". Even Jetalsar-staff - actually very careful in their predictions - felt, that steam in their shed could run well into the next year or up to 2000.