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Friday, August 6, 2010

Romancing Railways

The romance is back.

The ongoing resurrection of the Rewari Heritage Steam Shed has brought back the romance of the black beauties in my life. Cupid struck me on the platforms of the Cawnpore (now Kanpur) Railway Station platform in the early sixties and the romance that then started and ultimately blossomed with the resurrection of the Fairy Queen in the late nineties had shown a marginal decline during my stints away from the trains.

Rewari now marks the rebirth of my romantic association with the black beauties that once romped across the continent in all their glory. In all ten beauties are expected to be ready for the ramp before the games start in October. The beauties are black because they were always so, but perhaps they have inspired the games also to take a black hue.

Fairy Queen was a dream, a dream that I dared to live despite being a bureaucrat in a developing country. The queen gave me and also the railways its first Guinness world record. That one incident inspired a lot of steam lovers to come together to form the Indian Steam Railway Society, the first and only society of its kind in the country.

The rejuvenation of steam locomotives shed at Rewari will once again kindle the romance of the black beauties in many hearts. Rewari ultimately, god willing, is bound to emerge as the mecca of steam locomotives in the world, an international tourist destination that would find its place in the itineraries of all those lovers who cris-cross the globe in an attempt to have a glimpse of the sight that they love the most - a majestic steam locomotive spewing away steam and smoke, totally uncaring of its surroundings.

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