India's first indigenously-built locomotive

The F-734 is the first ever locomotive to be built completely in India - a milestone in the history of Indian Railways.

By National Rail Museum

National Rail Museum

From its history of being the first ever locomotive to be built entirely in India to its restoration at the museum, here is a look at the F-734, a prized possession of the National Rail Museum, New Delhi.

An old image of the F-734, the first Locomotive Made in IndiaNational Rail Museum

Manufactured in 1895 by the Ajmer Workshop of the North Western Railway, meter gauge steam locomotive F-734, set the ball rolling for the future of locomotive manufacturing in the country. It was withdrawn from service in 1958 after rendering 63 years of service.

The F-734 was used on the Rajputana Malwa Railway (also known as Rajputana State Railway before 1882). It ran from Delhi to Indore and upto Ahmedabad, and later on Bombay Baroda & Central India (BB & CI) Railway for mixed (passenger and goods) traffic.

Builder Plate of the F-734Heritage Directorate, Indian Railways

The number plate of the locomotive, where RMR stands for Rajputana Malwa Railway, F1 is the class and the locomotive number is 734.

F-734, the first locomotive to be manufactured in IndiaNational Rail Museum

Prior to it, locomotives were assembled at Jamalpur Workshops from spare parts supplied by the original manufacturers.

The F-734: First Locomotive Made in IndiaNational Rail Museum

Design specifications

The design of this locomotive is taken from the F class engines built by Dubbs and Company from Glasgow, U.K, in 1875, which weighed only 19 tons in working order. The six wheeled tender (the coal carrying structure, behind the driver's cab), added 13 tons more to the total weight.

The F-734: First Locomotive Made in IndiaNational Rail Museum

This 38.25 ton 0-6-0 wheel arrangement locomotive is equipped with Stephensons valve gear. The connecting rods are inside the frame while the side rods are outside.

This part of the locomotive is called the cowcatcher or Pilot. It is a strong metal frame mounted at the front of a locomotive to remove the obstacles on the track as train moves forward.

The leaf springs and the sand box of this locomotive are located above the wheels, on top of the frame, unlike some other locmotives where they are under the frame.

The F-734: Details of Worn Out Areas The F-734: Before RestorationNational Rail Museum

Restoration

Like many others before it, the F-734 was restored to its former glory at the National Rail Museum, New Delhi. It arrived in a much delapidated condition but over a period of two months was restored to its former self.

The F-734: Details of Worn Out Areas BoilerNational Rail Museum

The iron exteriors of the locomotive were corroded and falling apart.

The F-734: Details of Worn Out AreasNational Rail Museum

Corrosion of the exterior plate were exposing internal joineries.

The F-734: during restorationNational Rail Museum

Surface preparation began with paint scrapping and removal of the corroded parts. After that new metal sheets were welded on.

The F-734: during restorationNational Rail Museum

New metal sheets were welded on the tender of the locomotive.

The F-734: during restorationNational Rail Museum

A coat of spot putty was applied to fill up the gaps between the welded metal sheets.

The F-734: during restorationNational Rail Museum

Once the welding was complete, a coating of red oxide or primer was applied all over the exterior of the locomotive. This helps prevents easy corossion of the iron surface. Post that, a coating of grey base paint is applied on the surface.

The F-734: during restorationNational Rail Museum

The coat of base paint drying off in the sun.

The F-734: Wheel ArrangementNational Rail Museum

The restoration is completed with the final paint job on the locomotive in its original colors and detailing.

Take a virtual walk around this very special locomotive, a pride of not just the National Rail Museum, but of the entire Indian Railways.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Explore more
Related theme
Indian Railways
151,000 km of laid track, 1 billion people, and an infinite source of memories
View theme
Google apps