The Land of the Rising Sun - Rail Heritage in the North East

Rail Enthusiasts' Society

When in Assam, take in the history of the Northeast Frontier Railway line with a tour of the steam locos at the Tinsukia's Rail Heritage Park.

Northeast Frontier Railway
The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) line is responsible for rail operations in the entire Northeast and parts of West Bengal and Bihar. The headquarters of NFR are in Maligaon, in Guwahati, in the state of  Assam. Assam got its first railway line in 1881 when the Assam Railway and Trading Company set up metre gauge track. Mainly used for the transportation of tea and coal, a 65-km-long metre gauge line was constructed from Dibrugarh to Margherita. 
The Bhogibeel Bridge 
When a train line was first laid in Assam, there was no rail bridge, resulting in the need for a ferry service. There are now two road-cum-rail bridges across the Brahmaputra, obviating the need for any kind of ferrying. There is a third bridge, albeit a road bridge only, near Tezpur. A fourth bridge, across the Brahmaputra, is now under construction at Bhogibeel, near Dibrugarh. 

A special feature of this bridge is that the superstructure is all welded with no use of rivets or fasteners of any kind. This is going to be the first bridge of this kind on the Indian Railways.

When completed, it will be the longest road-cum-rail bridge in the country and the longest bridge of any kind over the Brahmaputra.

The Rail Heritage Park, Tinsukia
Set up by one of its erstwhile Divisional Rail Managers, S. Mookerjee, in 2010, the museum has been named “Rail Heritage Park”, in Tinsukia. The loco hauled trains on the Badarpur-Lumbding Section of the railway before it was retired in December, 1975. 

The most impressive sight at the Heritage park was the meter gauge (1000 mm) Garratt locomotive, which is a steam locomotive that consists of three joints (one boiler and two steam engines at each end of the boiler). The Garratt on display is the only meter gauge Garratt locomotive known to exist.

It was used during the Second World War, in Myanmar, by the British War Department. At the end of the war it was transferred to the Assam Bengal Railway (which later became the North East Frontier Railway).

The B class locomotive, although not as spic and span as the Bagnall, did give the impression that it could possibly have worked in the not too distant past.

Built by Tata Engineering and Locomotive Company Ltd. (TELCO) in 1960, the YG locomotive worked extensively on the Lumbding and Tinsukia divisions of North East Frontier Railway before it was retired, in February 1997.

YG locomotives were the counterparts of the YPs for working goods trains. Till diesels and conversion to Broad Guage swept the steams before them, the YG was the main goods locomotive of the Meter Gauge system of the Indian Railways.

The YP loco of 1957 had been built by Tata Engineering and Locomotive Company Ltd. In its heydays, it worked all the important trains of the NF Railway including the Kamrup Express, Assam Mail and Tinsukia Mail.

This steam locomotive used to carry trains of crude oil to the Margherita refinery, between 1891 and 1901.

In the picture: Model YG 4252, known as 'Sindh' stands at the Rewari Steam Locomotive Centre.

This loco is part of the trinity of locos 'Sahib', 'Sindh', and 'Sultan' in remembrance of the three steam locos that hauled the first passenger train on Indian soil in the year 1853.

In the picture: YG 3415 in motion at the Rewari Heritage Steam Locomotive Centre.

YG 3415, renamed as 'Sahib', is a meter gauge freight locomotive, built in the year 1960 by M/s. TELCO and can run up to a speed of 65km/hr.

In the picture: YG 3438 at the Rewari Heritage Steam Locomotive Centre.

YG 3438, renamed as 'Sultan', is the third meter gauge locomotive built in the year 1960 by M/s. TELCO and can run upto 65 km/hr, just like 'Sindh' and 'Sahib'.

Author: JL Singh
Credits: Story

Author: JL Singh

Credits: All media
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