KOCHI: Soon Keralites will get to see the world’s oldest running steam engine. A sequence of heritage runs will be organised in the Thiruvananthapuram division from Thursday. The 164-year-old Express EIR 21 has been brought in from the Madurai division. According to Shirish Kumar Sinha, Divisional Railway Manager, Thiruvananthapuram Division, the inaugural run is charted from Nagercoil junction to Kanyakumari.
“It will make a few runs on the route and later on will be brought to Ernakulam. The runs will be made on Saturdays and Sundays. For the inaugural run, the train will chug out of Nagercoil Junction at 5 pm,” he said.
“The heritage runs in Ernakulam will happen from Ernakulam Junction to Cochin Harbour Terminus. However, only a few runs have been charted on this route. The timings are yet to be finalised but the days will be Saturday and Sunday,” he said.
According to him, the runs are being conducted as a part of the Southern Railway’s policy to acquaint people with the heritage of railways in India. “EIR 21 has only one coach and has been refurbished. The train will provide people with a chance to ride on it. The ticket rates are yet to be decided,” he said.
The name ‘EIR 21 Express’ was given to the loco by its creators, Kitson, Thompson & Hewitson of England, who built it in 1855. The loco was shipped to the Indian subcontinent to span high and low lands. It carried people and heavy cargo for over 55 years. It was refurbished in 2010.