World's Oldest Steam Loco Has Been Chugging In India For 164 Years

EIR-21 "Express" also carried troops during the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857

World’s oldest running steam engine, EIR-21 “Express”, is going to make another heritage run, this time in Kerala.

Shirish Kumar Sinha, Divisional Railway Manager in Thiruvananthapuram, said that the inaugural run is charted from Nagercoil junction to Kanyakumari. He told TNIE,

“The heritage runs in Ernakulam will happen from Ernakulam Junction to Cochin Harbour Terminus. However, only a few runs have been charted on this route…EIR 21 has only one coach and has been refurbished. The train will provide people with a chance to ride on it. The ticket rates are yet to be decided.”

Built in 1855 by Kitson, Thompson & Hewitson of England, it was shipped to the Indian subcontinent along with the erstwhile ‘World’s oldest running steam engine’ — Fairy Queen. It carried people and heavy cargo for 55 years, including ferrying British troops to quell the Sepoy mutiny of 1857.

The steam engine had been kept as an exhibit at the Jamalpur Locomotive Workshop and then at the Howrah station in West Bengal after it was withdrawn from service in 1909. Several parts of the locomotive got rusted or went missing while some were found broken. After its revival, the engine went on its first heritage run conducted by Southern Railway in 2010.

The EIR-21 can adapt to various technological developments and is equipped with a GPS-based speedometer.