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The coal-powered steam engine of the Nilgiri Mountain Railway (NMR), which was awarded World Heritage status by the UNESCO, will be back in action soon.
An official attached to the mechanical department of the Salem Railway Division told The Hindu that the century-old steam engine that was retired almost a year ago would be back in action soon. The engine was stationed at Coonoor rail shed after the railways replaced it with furnaceoil-based engine during February last year.
The sources said that the railways wanted to maintain the heritage value of NMR and hence decided to operate the train with the coal-powered steam engine again. As per the orders of the Railway Board, the engine number 37384, a “X” Class locomotive, built at the Swiss Locomotives and Machine Works factory in Switzerland, was pressed into service by the NMR between 1917 and 1925.
With a view to fulfil the wishes of the rail enthusiasts world over, the Railway Board has instructed the authorities to revive the oldest coal-powered engine. As per the instructions, the engine was brought back to Mettupalayam a few days ago and it was put to intensive steam loco tests since last Saturday, an official said.
The engine is being tested at Mettupalayam rail shed for its steam pressure, leakage if any found in the steam boiler, pulling power in steep gradient etc.
After the completion of the tests, a report would be sent to the zonal heads for forwarding the same to the Railway board for its approval for conducting trial run, officials add.
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