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Rail trail

The photographs,on display at the Rail Museum,show three generations of steam locomotives...

New Delhi |
March 13, 2009 12:23:28 am

Locomotives in steam-12
The photographs,on display at the Rail Museum,show three generations of steam locomotives. The first is the MAWD-class meter gauge loco from the War-time design era,the second is B-class narrow gauge Darjeeling Himalayan Railway loco from the non-standard design era and the last is the broad gauge WP class loco from the Post-war IRS design era.

The meter gauge loco is 2-8-2 MAWD 1798 built in 1944 at Baldwin loco works. It was recommissioned in 2001. Later in June 2006,the crew cab and tender was rebuilt at the Siliguri shed. The narrow gauge loco is 0-4-0 ST B 802,built by the North British Locomotive Company in 1927. The broad gauge locomotive is WP7161. On the occasion of 125 years of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway,a unique run on three gauges was organised at Siliguri junction station on August 23,2007. This station has the unique distinction of being the only station in the world that has three gauges — broad,meter and narrow. The broad gauge train hauled by WP 7161 ran from Siliguri to Chalsa station. The meter gauge train hauled by MAWD 1798 ran from Siliguri to Bagdogra station. The narrow gauge train hauled by B802 ran from Siliguri to Kurseong station.

A display panel at the Rail Museum bears the signature of the original eight-member crew that had worked on the BG locomotive-WP 7161.

Sayaji Rao Gaekwad III
Sayaji Rao Gaekwad III (1863-1939) was born on March 11,1863 in a village in the Nashik District of the then Bombay Presidency.

Originally named Gopalrao,he,with his two brothers,went to a dilapidated primary school — the only one in the village. At the age of 13,the Dowager Maharani of Baroda State adopted him. He was re-named Sayaji Rao Gaekwad-III and put through a ‘crash course’ to prepare him for life as a ruler.

Almost from the word go,Sayajirao was in conflict with the British,having continuous and longstanding verbal and written disputes with British residents. On assuming the reins of government,some of his first tasks included education of his subjects,uplift of the downtrodden,judicial,agricultural and social reforms,building a network of railways to connect areas of his dispersed territories. Fully aware of the fact that he was a Maratha ruler of Gujarat,he identified himself with the people and developed their cosmopolitan attitude and progressive,reformist zeal. His rich library became the nucleus of today’s Central Library of Baroda. He was the first Indian Ruler to introduce,in 1906,compulsory and free primary education in his State. The extensive narrow gauge railway around Dabhoi and Vadodara was built during his tenure.

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