KOCHI: Soon Keralites will get a chance to see the world's oldest running steam engine. The 164-year-old Express EIR 21 has been brought in from Madurai division to Thiruvananthapuram railway station to be exhibited during a sequence of heritage runs starting from Thursday.
The steam engine will have its inaugural run from Nagercoil junction to Kanyakumari. "It will make a few runs on the route before it is brought to Ernakulam. The runs will be conducted on Saturdays and Sundays. For the inaugural run, the train will chug out of Nagercoil Junction at 5 pm," according to Shirish Kumar Sinha, divisional railway manager, Thiruvananthapuram Division,
"After the engine reaches Kerala, the heritage runs will be conducted between Ernakulam Junction and Cochin Harbour Terminus on Saturdays and Sundays. However, only a few runs been charted on this route. The exact timing of the runs are yet to be scheduled," Sinha added.
Sinha further said the runs are being conducted as a part of the Southern Railways 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 those who couldn't see and ride on it with a chance to do so. 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 India, to span high and low lands. It carried people from different walks of life and heavy cargos for over 55 years. It was refurbished in 2010.