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Steam engine chugs down the memory lane in Kolkata

     Kolkata: A heritage train pulled by a century-old steam engine was recently flagged off in Kolkata to commemorate the trip of the first passenger train from Howrah station 155 years back during the British rule. The first train in Eastern India had run from Howrah station on August 15, 1854. Minister of State for Shipping Mukul Roy and senior Eastern Railway officials attended the ceremony along with Minister of State for Railways E. Ahmed. A huge crowd gathered on both sides of the railway track to catch a glimpse of the 'age old beauty'. "I am indeed very happy to be here in this historic city to take part in the celebration of commemorating the running of first train in Eastern India," said E. Ahmed, Minister of State for Railways. The guard, the driver and the firemen were all dressed in the same coloured clothes worn by their predecessors 155 years back. Many school children boarded the 17-compartment train to enjoy the heritage run. There were special boarding passes for the passengers. The passengers seemed proud to be a part of the special run. "It is a historical moment for us. The first train travelled from Howrah to Bandel, 155 years back on this very day. So I am feeling proud to be part of the journey," said Sanchi Srivastava, a passenger. Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia built the WP-7, 200-class engine of the Heritage train. The steam locomotive, with a gauge of 5.6 feet and of 102.4 tonnes of weight, was one of the 16 models that were handed over by the US to the Indian ambassador on August 15, 1947.
-August 18, 2009

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