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Fri Oct 19 14:49:43 IST
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Blog Entry# 1052384
Posted: Apr 10 2014 (14:56)

1 Responses
Last Response: Apr 10 2014 (14:56)
Rail News
Commentary/Human Interest
Apr 10 2014 (14:37)   Matheran’s first ever locomotive up for sale, family wants govt to bid

Jayashree ❖ Amita*^   41217 news posts
Entry# 1052384   News Entry# 173430         Tags   Past Edits
The family of Sir Adamjee Peerbhoy, who built the Neral-Matheran railway route over a century ago, have said that they want the inaugural engine, which is in the UK, back.
The present-day generation of Sir Adamjee Peerbhoy, who built the Neral-Matheran railway route over a century ago, want the Indian Railways and the government to make an effort to bring back an original locomotive that operated on the heritage Matheran Light Railway.
The steam locomotive - one of the original four - has been in the UK for the past 30 years, and
has now been put up for sale by the Railworld Museum at Peterborough, England.
While no reserve price has been set for the loco, the sale will be executed via informal tenders, the deadline for submission of which is June 30. Railworld Museum says the sale will be to a new owner who has the resources and the commitment to restore and operate the Berlin-built locomotive and provide access to the public. The sale is being managed on behalf of the trustees by The International Railway Preservation Society.
Sources said there were four novel steam locomotives that the Peerbhoy family had bought specially for the mountainous stretch from Messrs Orienstein & Koppel, Germany. These were specifically built for the narrow curves and steep climbs of the Matheran hills. Of the original four engines — MLR 738 is stationed at Neral and is still used occasionally on the route for special tours, MLR 739 is at National Railway Museum in New Delhi, MLR 741 stands outside Matheran station, while MLR 740 is the one in UK.
Built in 1907, the 19.97-km stretch between Neral and Matheran in Raigad district of Maharashtra has been included by UNESCO in its tentative heritage list among mountain railways of India.
"The Neral-Matheran railway is our family's creation and we would like the government to honour Sir Adamjee Peerbhoy by getting this original locomotive back to India," said Ali Akbar Adamjee Peerbhoy, a great-grandson of the Peerbhoy family, who shuttle between Matheran and Clare Road at Byculla where they live.
Comprising two sisters, Fatima and Zainab, and three sons, Husain, Ali Akbar and Ali Asgar, the family own the Khatija Resorts at Matheran, run a charity in Saurashtra, and a school near Neral.
They also resent the attitude of the authorities towards the quaint railway and its founder. "Even the locomotive that stands outside Matheran station today does not bear the Peerbhoy name. The Railways should at least install an adequate plaque at the site," Ali Akbar added.
When Mirror contacted Indian Railways Executive Director (Heritage) Manu Goel, he said he was yet to hear about the upcoming sale, and would have to inquire about it before commenting.
Meanwhile, Phil Marshall of the International Railway Preservation Society, said, The locomotive is currently dismantled and in secure storage following a comprehensive condition survey by a third party. The boiler report and basic mechanical assessment are available to interested parties, and inspections of the locomotive can be arranged."
Asked about the expected price, Marshall said, "As the sale evoked considerable interest, we decided not to set a reserve price. We want to ensure that the loco is restored and that the public will have access to it. As such, we will also take into consideration the future uses of the loco."
Echoing the Peerbhoy family's sentiments is Prof Dr Balkrishna Bhosale of the sociology department of Mumbai University, who is writing a book on the history of Matheran and its railway. "This is the chance.... we should buy the locomotive and restore it. It's a matter of shame that the locomotive is outside India. The Indian Railways must make a bid for it," Prof Bhosale said.
Built in 1907, the locos were very successful and the fleet of four worked the line exclusively until the introduction of diesel engines in 1965. Thereafter, the steam locomotives continued in service for some time, until they were withdrawn in 1982.
The MLR 740 was donated to Britain by the Government of India in 1985 in recognition of services towards the establishment of India's National Railway Museum. The engine was acquired by the Amberley Chalk Pits Museum and arrived in UK on November 28, 1986. It was donated to Railworld Museum, Peterborough, in 1991.

1 Public Posts - Thu Apr 10, 2014

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