The International Steam Pages
Steam in Pakistan and India, October 1996
When passing the shed area, I saw a cold steam-loco, a 0-4-2 as I presume.
HGS 2264, 2216, 2277 and 2306 are available to haul tourist-trains twice a month. Running dates should be enquired at Sahrai Travel & Tours. However, for the train running on 4th October I got unfortunately no travel-permit from the Home Secretary, because the train was booked by the Pakistan Army. For the official tourist operation a permit can be obtained. Next running times are (12/19 Oct, 1/16 Nov), and 7/28 Dec 1996.
Alternative CWD-programme instead. The Mikes are still running the regular services. Visit in the loco-shed where many CWD and HGS are dumped in rows. Nobody could tell me how long steam will linger on. All engines are now running with the first driving-wheel missing the rod. The railway training show-room with its models is worth a visit. Ask for Mr. S. Iftikar Ahmed.
The train-timings are very much insh`allah". During my 2-days visit, A CWD failed on the Amruka-line and was then diesel-hauled.
The Bahawalnagar Guesthouse near Pak. Cotton Factory, Boys College Road provides a clean and happy home stay atmosphere for 100 Rupees only. Even edible Chinese-style food can be ordered!
Direct AC-Buses (Road Runner") link Bahawalnagar overnight with Lahore in 6 hours.
The Royal Orient" runs Wednesday afternoon. YG 3438 and 3415 in spotless condition haul the train up to Rewari. The train can be chased, but preparation, a good car and driver are essential.
Hindalco Industries Ltd., (Birla Group), Renukut
Regular traffic is diesel. Steam is for spare only. Loco L2 (2-8-4T) was steamed up at my visit L3 (0-8-4T) needs extension of the boiler-certificate. The management wants to get rid of both engines. One engine as soon as possible and the other one later. Both engines can be overhauled completely for the customer. A third diesel as spare will be purchased then. If no buyer can be found, the engines will be scrapped in the middle term. In a discussion with the Management, I pointed, that maybe Sri Lanka with its Museum Operation could be interested in one of the engines. That was found ideal" by them and transshipment to Madras could be organised. Anybody interested in the engines should contact Mr. G.C. Metha, Jt. President (Engineering).
Chittaurgarh - Udaipur- Ahmadabad
The following report (autumn 1996) has been updated, please see Heinz Hubbert's latest report (New Year 1997). The entire operation was completely dieselised in Summer for two month! The time was used to repair the steam-fleet and now everything is steam again. Time-keeping was much better then on my last visit and the express 9644/43 is booked steam again! However, once, I got 9644 4 hours delayed and with a diesel banker on 22nd October and the 85/86 on this unlucky day with diesel. Anyway, due to reduced delays, it was possible to get the 86 on some occasions in daylight. The trains-length is now restricted to 6 coaches only, so the days of the banker operation are now over. But still the best place for steam on the m.g..
On the other end, train 222 is running mostly double-hauled, with the second loco for the Bari Sadri branch.
Hotel Khumba Palace (Double 150 Rps.) is very nice, clean and quiet. Very good food in the roof-top restaurant.
Guide and TNC Harish Kumar can be contacted in the A.S.M. office when on duty or by Fax: +91-294-561907.
He stated, that things could change dramatically after the 15th November when the mainline to Ahmadabad via Abu Road will be closed for broadgauging on this section. Several extra trains are expected to be inaugurated from then to bypass the traffic between Delhi and Ahmadabad via Udaipur. Steam-availability is not sufficient to handle this extra traffic. Anything could happen.
Western Railway, narrow gauge
Despite being mentioned in the valid Newmans Timetable, the lines at Ankleshwar, Kosamba and Bilimora (probably) were closed about three years ago, according to the S.S. in Ankleshwar Jn.. On the Baruch - Jambusar line I saw a diesel when passing Baruch station.
(I was here in April 1994, and all services were running, the last steam having just finished.)