ABOUT NRM
INDIA's RAIL HERITAGE
EXHIBITS
VISIT NRM
STAR EXHIBITS
AUDITORIUM
SHOP ONLINE
EDUCATION
 Fairy Queen
 


     
Report on Fairy Queen
Synopsis
Evolution Of The Program
Program Objectives
Costs
Responsibility
Target Audience
Significance of Program
Project Title Top
Fairy Queen - Rekindle the Romance.
 
Synopsis Top
Heritage revived, Romance rekindled. This is the story of Fairy Queen Project. In 1855, the Fairy Queen locomotive was a charming train that chugged its way majestically across Indian terrian - an ode to human technology in an era of cargo and mail delivery by horses or by foot. This was one of the first locomotive in India introducing the early days of the revolutionary Steam Engine.

In 1909, the locomotive having done yeoman service was taken out of operations. In 1996, the National Rail Museum took up the challenge of getting the locomotive restored in heritage interest thereby making it the oldest working locomotive in the mainline anywhere in the world. The restoration and maintenance work took an entire year and in 1997 began to function as a moving train. An exclusive tourist train for a journey back into time was conceived and the Fairy Queen took its first load of delighted passengers on a maiden restoration run.

In 1999, Fairy Queen wons the National Tourism Award for most innovative & Unique Tourism Venture. Proper restoration is necessary for its safe, steady & continued working. It is again taken to the workshop for a rectification of inter alia suspect boiler & axle. It begins operations for 1999-2000 and the International Council of Pacific Area Travel Writers Association (PATWA) selects Fairy Queen as a heritage venture for award at ITB Berlin on 14-3-2000. The Fairy Queen enters the new millennium as a living legend.
 
Evolution of Program Top
1996
National Rail Museum decides to take the challenge of restoring the Fairy Queen of 1855 which was out of operation from 1909. Maintenance staff in Indian Railways apprehensive about possibilities to restore the locomotive. Workshops on Indian Railways not entirely confident and none willing to come forward.
13-12-96
Revival in Perambur Workshops of Southern Railway. Suspect Boiler (No Overhaul & some dummy tubes), Suspect coarse grained axle, Suspect plain bearing axle boxes, Wheel diameter in excess of safety requirements, Single side coupling. No braking arrangement. Air-brake valves provided for braking through separate compressor in service coach. Generator for lighting also through service coach.
17-01-1997
Wheel diameter of leading and trailing wheels of Fairy Queen is 1128mm & 1145mm.This is in excess of 1092mm, the Maximum permitted vide clause 2(I) of Chapter IV copyright of BG Schedule of dimensions 1973 of Indian Railways. After consideration, as a special case for Fairy Queen, condoning of infringement of wheel diameter for Fairy Queen is permitted.
22-01-1997
The locomotive belonged to an era when speeds were 15mph. after special trails, Max Speed of 40 km/h permitted.
01-02-1997
The driving Wheel axle does not give echo in Ultra sonic testing. This may be either due to a flaw or because of a coarse grained axle. Special permission obtained for Fairy Queen to allow working with coarse grain axle on which no echo is being recieved and special set of instructions issued to carry out Ultra sonic testing on the locomotive after every trip.
06-08-1997
Ministry of Railways sanction obtained to run Fairy Queen.
17-09-1997
Oscillation trails on Delhi - Rewari section conducted for working the locomotive with train on Main Line. Necessary certification obtained and based on this, locomotive also permitted to operate on other sections.
...
Trail runs in Delhi Area for the requirements of Crew, maintenance staff and repairs.
....
Trail run to Alwar to test the ability of the locomotive to negotiate the gradients in hauling a special tourist train to Saiska wild life sanctuary. Also to assess the watering, coal and sectional timings. BBC films portions of the train journey.
.....
Special tourist program identified from Delhi to sariska Tiger sanctuary on day 1, overnight at the Wildlife Sanctuary and returns the next day. Also, Rajasthani Cultural programs, theme dinner, souvenirs, photographs, royal service and many exciting surprises.
18-10-1997
Inaugural Run
15-11-1997
1st Commercial Season 97-98 begins monthly. Distance 143 kms,allowed journey time 7 hours 30 minutes.
13-01-1998
Guiness Certification
...
The locomotive being a prime attraction was not visible from the coach. Modifications were carried out to provide glass front & sides in the front of the coach with a mini lounge. In this manner, while the tourists relax in the coach and enjoy the hospitality, the Loco can be viewed steaming ahead through glass front.
.....
Repairs carried out on the locomotive to reduce leakage. Also, with improved hauling power, the higher speeds make the plain bearing axle boxes start running hot. Special attention given to brasses, whitemetalling and repacking.
......
Boiler Examination conducted by authorized boiler inspector and Boiler certification obtained from Northern Railway for 6 months.
....
Launch of Fairy Queen for 98-99 at National Rail Museum. National television channel carries it in the National broadcast of Evening news.
.....
Once again, the Driving Wheel axel does not give echo in Ultra sonic testing.This maybe either due to a flaw or because of a coarse grained axle. Special permission obtained for Fairy Queen to allow working with coarse grain axle on which no echo is being recieved and special set of instructions issued to carry out Ultra sonic testing on the locomotive after every trip.
.....
Trial run in Delhi area with press. Extensive coverage recieved in print & electronic media in India & abroad.
31-10-1998
2nd Commercial season 98-99 begin fortnightly.Distance 143 kms, allowed journey time reduced to 6 hours.
25-01-1999
Prime Minister of India awards Fairy Queen the National Tourism Award for most innovative & Unique Tourism Venture.
26-02-1999
Mr Tim Fischer, Deputy Prime Minister Australia takes a ride on the Fairy Queen.
....
Boiler permission for Northern Railway for 3 months for working demonstrations in National Rail Museum.
08-03-1999
Right Honourable John Prescott Member of Parliament and Deputy Prime Minister of United Kingdom takes a ride on the Fairy Queen.
...
Locomotive cannot be continued with existing boiler & axle condition. A number of repairs required. Workshops near Delhi area unable to consider the special requirements. Once again locomotive loaded in wagon and transported to Southern India for full Overhaul including boiler in Perambur Workshops.Workshops successful in replacing the axle as well as arranging to press it on the unusually large wheel through the workshops at Secunderabad. Also, new tubes similar to original identified and obtained. All out efforts to ensure authenticity in restoration.
....
Boiler Examination conducted by authorised boiler inspector and Boiler certification obtained from Northern Railway for 6 months.
...
Launch of Fairy Queen for 99-2000 at National Rail Museum.
..
Special attention to Branch Steam pipe, Axle boxes, Piston-cotter adjustment to improve reliability.
30-10-1999
3rd Commercial Season 99-2000 begin fortnightly.Distance 143 kms, allowed journey times 5 hours.
15-11-1999
Delegates from Transport, Communications Museums & heritage societies in the annual conference of IATM hosted by National Rail Museum examine and ride on the World's oldest working locomotive on Mainline.
18-11-1999
International council of Pacific area travel writers association (PATWA) selects Fairy Queen as a heritage venture for award at ITB Berlin on 14-3-2000.
27-11-1999
Mr Digvijay Singh, Honourable Minister of State for Railways takes a ride on the Fairy Queen.
08-01-2000
Fairy Queen enters the new millennium as a living legend.
 
Program Objectives Top
National Rail Museum (NRM) is a prime attraction & focus of the remarkable heritage, unique constructions and many works of genius of the Great Indian Railways(IR), the lifeline of India for economic,social,cultural,technological and political progress spanning over 150 years. NRM attracts all age groups of Indian & foreigners. The steam engine has a very special appeal through its display of awesome power, chugging sounds, romance & nostalgia and social and cultural aspects of the industrial revolution. One of the treasures here is the Fairy Queen of 1855. A living legend and much older than the Titanic. Through the media, scholars, rail enthusiasts, sponsors and travel industry, this could attract visitors to the Rail Museum like the Taj Mahal or Eiffel Tower. Also, Rail Museum has many other exhibits and working steam possibilities. To revive the Fairy Queen and make it working was like a dream.

The objectives can be briefly summarized as follows:-

 • Keep alive the Fairy Queen as the oldest working locomotive in the world on the mainline.
 • Rekindle the Romance, Revive the Nostalgia.
 • Heritage preservation & bringing it to life.
 • Tourism in India and new heritage ventures.
 • Social, Cultural & Educational values as the old turns gold and comes back to life.

Costs Top
The work on the locomotive is being done from within the existing resources of Indian Railways including staff and material in heritage interest. Restoration has been carried out with special initiative within the existing sphere of working. The tourist train is being worked in a section where capacity is available. Publicity & promotion is also part of normal Railway working. Miscellaneous expenses towards promotion, operation, special events etc are as being permitted from time to time within the Railway working. Consequently, only marginal costing is being done so far for running the locomotive. Briefly, this is as follows:-
1 Coal @250Kg of Coal/1000 Tonne-Km.
2 Oils, Wood, Bolts & Nuts & Contingencies @$(US)25/trip

This is fully met by the Indian Railways.

 
Responsibility Top
National Rail Museum co-ordinates the restoration with Perambur Workshops of Southern Railway, maintenance, operation and all technical requirements with the Northern Railway . The Tourism wing of the Indian Railways co-ordinates the publicity, promotion and commercial aspects of the tourist package.
 
Target Audience Top
1.
People at large - Rekindle the Romance, revive the Nostalgia, Sounds & Smell of a bygone era, unique, innovative and exciting heritage & tourism venture;
2.
Tourist - Foreign & Indian;
3.
Travellers - Singles, Couples, Honeymooners, Families, Groups, Conference groups etc;
4.
Travel Industry - Tour Operators, Travel Agents & Freelancers
5.
Media - Print & Electronic;
6.
Rail Enthusiasts;
7.
Those associated with History & Heritage;
8.
Professional - Museologists, Photographers, Researchers, Artists etc;
 
Significance of Program Top
Fairy-Queen (1855) is a locomotive of 1855, the days before the use of Electricity, Telegraph, Telephone, Wireless, Steel etc. The Steam Ship had revolutionized travel across the seas. However, inland movement was best done with horses at 5 miles/hour. The earliest steam locomotives for inland travel had begun to appear only in the 19th century. This made it possible to travel at 15 miles/hour. Now, the Fairy Queen is the oldest one of its kind in working condition after almost 150 years. The restoration of the locomotive is thus a remarkable initiative for heritage interest.

This locomotive is amongst the treasure at the National Rail Museum from the beginning i.e. 1971, was brought back to life thus making it a living legend and the oldest locomotive in the world working on the Main Line. This was an innovative & unique initiative of the National Rail Museum. Also, it was a challenge to the Mechanical department of Indian Railways to return to life a locomotive that was not used since 1909. The overhaul at Perambur workshops of the Southern Railway and maintenance by Northern Railway was done with a great degree of initiative & enthusiasm. This has recieved appreciation both in India & abroad. The Guiness book of World Records has certified this as the oldest working locomotive anywhere in the world.

A formal launch was held in the National Rail Museum in August, attended by Travel Industry, Press, Ambassadors/High Commissioners and top officials. National Television carried it in the evening National News. Commemoratives trip in October with travel Industry & Press again generated enthusiasm. The publicity in print & electronic media was unprecedented.

Thus, an innovative step in heritage has been successful and opened possibilities for many more heritage tourist ventures utilizing the vast Railway heritage. The new thinking, the world over, is that the industrial revolution & Railways in the last 200 years has seen developments that are of lasting significance to mankind and should be considered World Heritage. For around 150 years, the Indian Railways have been the blood stream of the country in its economic, technological, industrial and social growth. Fairy-Queen apart other priceless treasures of the Indian Railways open new avenues for Heritage tourism, maybe more than all other forms of tourism. The Fairy-Queen is a forerunner to many heritage tourism possibilities focussed through the National Rail Museum.

It is stamped for posterity as a prestigious icon of Indian Railways. While continuing to go full steam ahead as a gallant stalwart, proving it's mettle(also metal), defying time & age, from the early days when the Steam Engine created a revolution to the new millennium,it stands as a glorious testimonial of heritage and worth its weight in gold. A pulsating past, a dream revival, a living legacy and now moved into the new millennium.
 
Home | FAQ's | Feedback | Contact Us | Site Map | Webmaster