The International Steam Pages
Notes - India, 1980-7
Terry Case writes about his travels for steam. Further tales will follow from time to time covering more of Australia, India, South Africa, Indonesia and Pakistan.
Click here for the Case Notes Index.
For other Indian tales in this series, please see:
On my first trip to India I made a number of depot visits, including Agra Cantonment on 9th January 1980. The depot serviced CR steam locomotives from Jhansi as well as its own allocation. My permit was carefully inspected and I was asked if my photographs were to be published: the shed became one of those on a banned list a short time later.
My aim was to secure a photo of WP 7656 with the Taj embellishments, in this I was partly successful in that they were about to remove the ornamental shield, but small train number board had already been removed. The engine cab also had embellishments including a decorated brass of the Taj over the firehole door.
The shed was quite small and only four WP were on shed, in addition to 7656 were: - 7733 in blue livery and 7066 both under repair, the latter was a regular for the Toofan Express. The fourth 7713 was undergoing a steam test following light repairs.
There were many freight link WGs present, but these had little work apart from shunting duties. The passenger link versions handled stopping trains on the Jhansi - Delhi sectors. CWDs, included 12059 and 12148 in steam and 12136 under repair, again these were restricted to pilot duties. NR and WR versions were serviced at Agra Idgah depot though WR AWD no 12673, (Baldwin 1944) in passenger livery was seen taking water.
A nice cameo was the shed painter plying his trade painting the numbers and service details on cab sides. The depot was smaller than most I visited and unlike many had a turntable rather than a triangle, presumably to save space.
7656 is on shed having arrived on the Taj Express, the Muslim style decorative shield is about to be removed.
WP 7656 stands over a reasonably clean pit. Despite the availability of ample labourers some depots struggled to keep ash and inspection pits in good condition.
Western Railway AWD no 12673, (Baldwin 1944) in passenger livery was seen being serviced. Most WR and NR locomotives that operated out of Agra were serviced at Idgah depot.
The shed painter looking the part wearing his beret, jacket and flared jeans. Not much room for artistic talent when you only have locomotive numbers to paint! 8018 was a WG.
Agra based CWDs showed signs of once being oil burners. Most were retained for pilot duties and a number were seen on shed. Also here receiving attention was WG 8728.