The International Steam Pages

Once upon a time, long ago,
YPs on India's Western Railway, January 1985

Wilson Lythgoe has been circulating friends with some steam pictures taken some time back and with his permission and encouragement they are reproduced on these pages and will be added to from time to time. Click here for the index.

The YP's were a handsome engine! A total of 871 of these Pacific type engines had been built for the Indian Railways metre gauge between 1952 and 1970 and were intended for main line express work. By the mid 80's most main line expresses were now in the hands of diesels but the YP's were still being turned out for some plus a large number of the slower stopping passenger trains.

The Western Railway had a distinctive colour scheme which nicely matched the colour of the carriages giving a great looking train for the photographer. The rule of thumb though seemed to be: express engines spotless, fast passenger not quite as clean but still looking good and for an all points stopper then as long as the loco could move it would do. Remembering this rule you'll have no difficulty working out which category of train each engine was assigned to. Timekeeping of the trains, on my January 1985 visit, seemed to reflect this rule also!

I'd travelled out to Jetalsar, a junction of four lines just about as far west as you can go in India, to see the YB class which were supposedly still operating out that way. Didn't manage to see a dead YB let alone one at work but these things happen and you make the most of what's around at the time:

YP 2443 (one of the first of the class built North British in 1952) attempts to get its early morning train underway. By the end of the platform the attempt was over and a long delay occurred whilst another engine was found.

YP 2330 (Tata Engineering 1957) drifts past the distant semaphore whilst laying down an impressive smoke screen. A number of trains in this arid area hauled a wagon of water along to supplement their tender supply.

Another Tata Engineering product, this time from 1954, YP 2111 rolls its train towards Jetalsar.

The express from Rajkot to Veraval reached Jetalsar around lunchtime, crossed its opposite number and if I remember correctly changed engines. The sun was straight down the track so no chance of train photos but I did manage a smoke-box shot of super shine 2336 (Tata Engineering, 1957).

A couple of days later I travelled behind YP 2111 from Jetalsar. This decrepit looking, dirty old monster had obviously seen better days and managed to lose half an hour during the four hour journey.

A few days later I was still on the Western Railway and visited the Gates of Debari just outside Udaipur. It should have been a fantastic place for photos but I blew it! There were four steam hauled trains each morning in suitable light: I went out three mornings and basically all I managed were these three photos but they will give an idea of the potential.

Unknowns YP's roll the Chetak Express from Delhi through the Gates of Debari. The Chetak is nearing the end of its twenty hour journey from the capital and has been steam hauled all the way. It would be dieselised in early 1988.

YP 2175 (Krauss- Maffei, 1954) on a stopping passenger rolls round the curve on the final approach to the Gate.

Some more pictures of Udaipur steam are included in Robert Hall's report of a visit some years later - "The 10:40 to Bari Sadri"

Rob Dickinson