Despite long claims by Northern Railways to retract vintage British locomotive steam engine (KC-520) on the world heritage Shimla-Kalka narrow gauge rail line, the mechanical wings of Northern Railways remained fail to give fresh lease of life to this steam engine which was propelled by the coal fuel 105 years ago.
Chief Depot Officer and Section Engineer of Northern Railways, I. L. Negi said that steam engine could not be retract on heritage rail route soon, as it requires more repair. Brushing aside the claim made by another official of northern railways ( Assistant Mechanical Division Engineer H.K. Mishra), who stated that engine would be on the track soon. Mr. Negi said, ” neither Northern Railways is in position to retract the steam engine soon, nor new booking was being done by Railway to offer the journey in this old locomotive”, adding to his statement Mr. Negi said that he has no answer when it would made to roll out on the track again.
It is worthwhile to mention here that on Nov 2003, Northern Railways again chugged up this British-built 1903 steam engine up to Kathleeghat from Shimla, 23.35 km to mark the centenary of the Shimla-Kalka rail line as nearly 100 invitees including number of foreigners were offered the privilege to take ride in specially built bogies of a train powered by the steam engine on the existing world heritage narrow-gauge.
Earlier it has been beating dust at Saharanpur as made retire by the Northern Railways after commissioning of diesel engine on the route. Before re-installing the old locomotive on the track again, Railway had given a new look after brushing the exterior of engine with ‘ochre and red paint’ for the special journey. Another attempt was being made four years back when it was given chance of revival but coal blazes coming out of steam engine broke out a massive forest fire near Kandaghat railway station and on another occasion steam engine took last sigh after a technical snag.
Despite the fact that Railway official hitting headlines in the newspaper and Media since last eight years, that it would be made to retract to make live 105 years of memory. All efforts to give fresh lease of life, Northern Railways is not in affirmative to rebuilt the engine on age old tested technology of steam engine propelled by the coal fuel however, officials were giving contradictory statements in the media about the current status of engine.