Be it the Taj Mahal, Red Fort, or the Sundarbans National Park, the distinct heritage of India makes it one-of-a-kind. But apart from these popular heritage sites, India is also home to the world’s oldest running steam locomotive, the Fairy Queen. Built in 1855, the Fairy Queen Express still runs between Delhi and Rewari from October to April.
Continue reading to know more about the history, features, train running status, and other details of this historic train.
History of the Fairy Queen:
The Fairy Queen’s locomotive (EIR-22) was created in 1855 under the East India Railway Company. It was first used as a light mail in West Bengal and was later used for carrying troops. The locomotive was then used for line construction work in Bihar before it was retired in 1909.
For more than 30 years after retiring, the locomotive was kept as a display outside the Howrah railway station. It was then sent to Uttar Pradesh in 1943. Its heritage status was recognised by the government in 1972, who used it as a feature exhibit of the National Rail Museum in Delhi.
The success of Palace on Wheels, another luxury heritage train, encouraged the government to restore the Fairy Queen. In 1997, the locomotive was back on track and used to undertake 2-days excursions from Delhi to Alwar.
The Tragedy of 2011:
The locomotive of the Fairy Queen was looted and vandalised in Delhi in 2011. While the Fairy Queen was kept operational, the historical locomotive of the train was replaced with WP 7161 steam engine.
It took around six years for the vandalised locomotive of the Fairy Queen to get back on track. The locomotive is now featured at Rewari Railway Heritage Museum and is used as a Steam Express for 1-day excursions between Delhi and Rewari.
Facilities of the Steam Express:
The train now has a single air-conditioned carriage for up to 60 passengers. This carriage of the train is specially designed with large window panels so that the passengers can have a clear view of this historic locomotive. Apart from this, it also has a pantry car for catering on board. Moreover, there is also a lounge-like space added in the front of the carriage to offer a scenic view of the journey.
Itinerary and Departure:
The Steam Express is only operational between October and April – twice in a month on the 2nd and 4th Saturday. It leaves the Delhi Cantonment station around 10.30 am and takes around 150 minutes to reach Rewari station around 1 pm. It then leaves the Rewari station at 4.15 pm and reaches Delhi at 6.15 pm.
Checking the Train Status:
Thanks to the advancements in mobile technologies, people can now check the live train status of the Steam Express through a mobile app. There are now mobile apps which the passengers can use to book train tickets, check seat availability, PNR status, fare calculator, seat map, and more. The combination of the Steam Express, a historical masterpiece, and such advanced mobile apps helps passengers enjoy a convenient journey.
Bookings of the Steam Express:
You can visit the official website of IRCTC to book the Steam Express tickets. Platform 16 of the New Delhi railway station and the National Rail Museum in Delhi are some other places to book the tickets.
If you want to experience a journey of a lifetime, a trip on the Steam Express pulled by its historical locomotive can be a great option.