The International Steam Pages

Steam in India 1999

Charles Whetmath reports on the STEAM & SAFARIS TOUR TO INDIA - JANUARY 1999


AWE No.3315 in steam 6/7 January occasionally shunting coal trains onto the hopper at the power station. AWE No.3616 being prepared for its annual boiler exam (due Feb 1999). XE No.3634 is now in Delhi Museum. Two other XE (3300/1) and HSM 26233 derelict in the undergrowth; apparently tenders are out for their sale.

Loaded trains from Manikpur Colliery in the hands of two Bharat Industries 700hp diesels; these seemed to be operated more or less continuously with empties leaving the power station as soon as a train was ready at the colliery.

Steam is allegedly confined to the power station area because of the locomotives' condition but No.3315 was seen up the line near Korba town, apparently being filled with coal (loco coal doesn't come from Manikpur). Hotel Blue Diamond in Korba surprisingly good


Metre gauge 0-4-0 'Tweed' and 2'6" gauge 4-6-2 No.145 were steamed specially on 9 January. It had been intended not to use rail this season but a decision had recently been made that it would have to be used. MG 4-4-0 No.54, NG 0-6-2 No.54 & 0-6-0T No.52 present


No milling, all out of use because of an industrial dispute. Motipur last used rail in 96/97 season. MG 0-4-2 No.3 photographable in the metre gauge shed; the four NG locos locked in their shed. At Hatua all four and at Sakri all eight steam locos in various states of dereliction and disuse


Metre gauge 0-8-0ST (HC 1644/30) in use to work loaded cane from Riga NER station to the mill, about 1 mile. The Hunslet 4wDM was out of use with engine missing. Cane comes by rail from a wide area and it was said the loco did some 15 trips per day, but I think they meant about 15-20 wagons per day!


Special train from Jaynagar to Janakpurdham and towards Bisalpura on 11 January, returning Janakphurdham to Jaynagar on 12 January with 0-6-2T No.7 'Shri Bishnu'. This was said to be the first steaming for some 18 months. At Khajuri works the remainder of the steam fleet exists, some more derelict than others, with Hunslet 4-6-0T 'Guhyeshwari' scattered around. It was claimed that 2-6-2+2-6-2 Garratt No.4 could be returned to steam if the price was right.

The regular service of 3 trains each way Jaynagar-Janakphurdham and one Janakphurdham-Bisalpura requires 3 diesel locos; the trains seemed as crowded as ever. There is some freight traffic. Hotel Rama at Janakphurdham good.

(en route Barauni-New Jalpaiguri YG 2-8-2 No.3042 (?) seen dumped outside the shed at Thanabihpur together with some metre gauge carriages isolated on this now broad gauge line)


Cut between Tindharia and Kurseong and not a lot seems to have been done to repair what is allegedly one of the worst landslides to have occurred. At one point the road has been reinstated by tarring over the railway. Works trains had been running at the southern end of the line. Locos Nos 802 & 804 were under overhaul in Tindharia Works.

The only trains scheduled to run were 06.40 Kurseong-Darjeeling and 14.30 return though these had not operated for some time because of a 'shortage' of coal. After negotiation the railway was persuaded find sufficient coal to run the trains on Sunday 17 January.


This 2-2-2WT of 1855 is working fortnightly from Delhi Cant to Aliwal (Sat/Sun 9/10 Jan etc) till March and is now kept in a compound at Delhi Cant station. It was seen on 5 January but appeared to be missing on 19 Jan when passing over the station by road in the fog.

Rob Dickinson