GUWAHATI: For supply of spare parts for century-old steam locomotives of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) on Friday inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Heavy Engineering Corporation Limited (HECL).
The day would be marked as a Red Letter Day in conservation history of Railways according to Rajen Gohain Union Minister of State for Railways as the signing of MoU would ensure that the Heritage-era steam locomotives would never die out. About 41 critical spare components would be supplied by HECL for the available steam locomotives and thus they would remain ever operational.
UNESCO in 1999 bestowed the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway with World Heritage Site status for “bold and ingenious engineering solutions to the problem of establishing an effective rail link across a mountainous terrain of great beauty.” The UNESCO had observed that DHR “retains most of its original features intact”.
Chief Public Relations Officer, NFR, Pranav Jyoti Sharma, said that conservation of the DHR Heritage is the mission of NFR by keeping steam traction alive for people to get a feel of the glorious past.
Known as “B” class engines since their inception the small Steam Locomotives have been the mainstay of DHR and are also major tourist attractions. At present, 13 “B” class steam locomotives are available in DHR. Most of them are more than 100 years old. Keeping them operational and keeping the original features of the locos intact pose a big challenge for DHR as most of original manufacturer no more produce such locos or spares.
As a solution, for the steam locomotives of DHR, HECL has agreed to manufacture/develop items/equipment which includes spares of narrow Gauge Steam locomotives, development of Steam boiler for Narrow Gauge Steam Locomotives.
The MOU will ensure steady supply of spares for the Steam Locomotive fleets of DHR, which in turn will ensure optimum and efficient utilization of the locomotives for sustainability of DHR. It will go a long way in turning around DHR towards making it commercially viable.
News Source: economictimes.indiatimes.com
Picture Source: google.co.in