Life in Gurgaon

Heritage train linking two historic towns, 11 km from Gurugram, flagged off

he train service seeks to revive steam locomotive as well as throw light on these historical towns

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In a move that could give a fillip to tourism in the Gurugram district, the Northern Railways on Saturday flagged off a special heritage train that will run between Farrukhnagar and Garhi Harsaru, 11 kilometres from the city.

The train service seeks to revive steam locomotive as well as throw light on these historical towns.

The train service will use the BG Steam Locomotive WP 7200 that goes by the popular name of Azad, said RK Rana, PRO, Northern Railwayss.

“Till now, the normal train service used to run only six days a week. From now, the train will be run by a steam engine on Sundays. The cost of one way journey would be Rs 10. The steam engine, Azad, was revived recently, and has been used in several film shoots in the past,” Rana said.

Rana added that the launch of the stream locomotive running train, that will cover a stretch of 11 kilometre, would add to the awareness about the towns as well as boost tourism in the area.

“We are hopeful that the train service will revive interest in the historically rich towns of Farrukhnagar and Garhi Harsaru. We are expecting tourists from the country and abroad to visit the area. The Farrukhnagar railway station of Northern Railways, built in 1873, is also historically important,” Rana said.

The train service will run on a route whose history goes beyond that of the two towns.Peppered with historical structures such as the Shish Mahal and Dilli Darwaja that go back at least 300 years, Farrukhnagar is an important contributor to the pool of heritage sites within the ambit of Gurugram district. The area around the town used to be rich in salt, which was naturally produced from around 300 salt wells.

Garhi Harsaru is also home to colonial structures. The railway station at Garhi Harsaru itself is a heritage structure, say experts.

“The track between Farrukhnagar and Garhi Harsaru is widely believed to be the world’s oldest commercial metre gauge. A few years back, it was converted into broad gauge,” Subrata Nath, executive director (heritage), Indian Railways, said.

The train service was inaugurated in the presence of chairman, railway board, Ashwani Lohani. Lohani had earlier visited Farrukhnagar in March where he had first promised the inauguration of the heritage train service.

Heritage experts said that the train service was an innovative attempt and could arouse curiosity about Gururgram’s forgotten towns.

“The launch of this train service is a great opportunity that could add to the heritage awareness and activities in Gurugram district. INTACH has inked an MoU with the railway ministry and we are considering getting in touch with them on a proposal for conducting heritage walks. Heritage walks on the train route would introduce the visitors to the history of the two towns,” Shikha Jain, convener INTACH, Haryana chapter, said.