The Railways is looking forward to restoring steam engines in the form of Delhi Ring Railway, back to their former glory after they were phased out in 1995 due to the arrival of electric and diesel locomotives.
The task has been entrusted with the Northern Railways and as per the plan, the train will consist of four heritage coaches with a steam locomotive that will start from Safdarjung station and travel to Anand Vihar, Old Yamuna Bridge, Old Delhi, New Delhi and Nizamuddin station. This move will be a big push to the Ring Railways, which was once hugely popular in the city but got left behind as the capital expanded.
Tourists will also be able to visit the Red Fort, Chandni Chowk, National Rail Museum, the historic Old Yamuna Bridge, Humayun’s Tomb and rail buildings such as Old Delhi station, Kashmiri Gate and Baroda House by using the Delhi Ring Railway.
“It is a big revival of steam locomotives in Indian Railways, and our aim is to have regular steam loco operations in all hill railways – and also in the long-awaited Delhi Ring Railway route,” said a senior Railway Ministry official involved with rail heritage. There were talks to run a steam locomotive on the Delhi Ring Railway during 2010 but it did not materialise for a lot of reasons.
“The landscape along the proposed route will be beautified, besides other necessary arrangements to make it operational. The fare structure and timings are yet to be decided,” the official said. “Two options are being considered: A round trip or a hop-on-hop-off ticket,” the official added.
This move comes after the successful run of a steam-hauled train on the Palanpur-Jogindernagar section of Kangra Valley Railway after more than two decades. All five hill railways now have steam loco services to boost tourism. While Darjeeling Himalayan Railway and Nilgiri Mountain Railway have regular steam locos services, the Kalka-Shimla Railway and Matheran Hill Railway carry out services on tourist demand.