No one can deny the fact that railways are the lifeline of our country. One of the largest railway networks in Asia, the Indian Railways have been on track for over 150 years. So let’s take a leaf out of the fascinating history of this mode of transport, and share anecdotes about India’s Fairy Queen, the oldest working steam locomotive in the world!
One of our many contributions to the Guinness Book of World records, the Fairy Queen was built in the year 1855. Interestingly, this train has seen a lot of action apart from being used as a mode of transport. Owned and built by the East India Company, this train was made in Leeds, England and then was brought to Calcutta, India. It ran between Calcutta and Bihar till 1909, post which the train was stationed at Calcutta’s Howrah railway station for about 34 years.
Later in 1943, the Fairy Queen found itself in Chandausi’s Railway Zonal Training School acting as an apparatus for students to learn. The journey didn’t end there. In 1972, Indian Government finally acknowledged this steam locomotive as a heritage item and national treasure and moved it to the National Rail Museum in New Delhi.
However things changed after the Palace on Wheels – India’s most famous luxury train took to the tracks. Owing to the success of luxury trains in India, the decision to run Fairy Queen as a luxury train for commercial purpose after eighty odd years was taken. In 1997 the train set out for a 2 day trip from Delhi to Alwar with a night’s rest in The Sariksa Palace followed by a trip to Wildlife Sanctuary. Since then, barring a brief break for a year, the locomotive steam train has been enticing tourists from across the world. So much so, that the then Prime Minister of India, Atal Bihari Vajpayee awarded the initiative with a National Tourism Award in 1999.
The Fairy Queen can accommodate 50 passengers and is equipped with a fully functional pantry, AC coach, and a lounge area. The itinerary of the 1 Night/2 Days trip consists of a royal welcome, typical Indian meals, a stay in The Sariska Palace, a jungle safari and the priceless scenic view enroute.
Beautiful, mystical, exciting and rare, we recommend a ride in the Fairy Queen be a part of everyone’s bucket list!