TIRUCHY: A diesel-fired steam engine manufactured in the Golden Rock railway workshop in Ponmalai for the Nilgiri Mountain Railway (NMR) was flagged off by Southern Railway general manager BG Mallya on Tuesday. Railway sources said this is the first diesel-fired steam engine manufactured in the country.
Mallya appreciated the efforts by the team in manufacturing the vintage steam engine. "This is a workshop that has a history of almost 100 years. The steam loco will be given to the NMR in the coming days and it is a totally indigenous effort," said Mallya.
Last year, the workshop manufactured a coal-fired steam engine for NMR.
In the past, the workshop had done several vintage projects like overhauling the popular steam loco Fern Queen and repairing a century-old clock tower in Tiruchy district court building.
Officials said the Golden Rock is one of the few workshops in the world that still manufactures vintage steam engines. The manufacturing of this vintage loco started last August and sources said railways spent about Rs 10 crore on it.
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"We have experience of manufacturing and conducting overhauling works on steam engines. But, it is for the first time that we are manufacturing a diesel-fired steam engine. Most of the steam engines are either oil-fired or coal-fired. So, this is a unique loco and it might be the only diesel-fired steam engine in the world," a senior official said.
The diesel-fired loco was rolled out through a dedicated track in the workshop.
"We are glad that everything went on well. In the coming days, this loco will offer a historic voyage to hundreds of tourists visiting the Nilgiris," a worker said.
In addition to this steam engine, Mallya also flagged off the 606th Public Sector Undertaking loco and modified high-speed goods coaches at the workshop. He inaugurated new projects, including Bheema Bamboo Garden, a renovated canteen and other facilities at the workshop.