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

Hindustan Times (Gurugram) - - Gurugram - Sa­dia Akhtar Sa­dia.Akhtar@htlive.com ■

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 ₹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.

YOGENDRA KU­MAR/HT PHOTO

■ The train will by run by a steam en­gine, which goes by the name Azad.

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