New Delhi, [India], Feb. 10 : The 'Fairy Queen', which is the oldest surviving functional steam engine in the world, is once again ready to haul a heritage train from Delhi Cantonment to Rewari after a long halt of five years.
The locomotive is a prime attraction among steam engine lovers across the globe. Constructed by, Kitson, Thompson and Hewitson at Leeds in England (1855). The engine arrived at Calcutta (Kolkata) in the same year but did not receive a name until 1895. The 5 feet 6 inches gauge locomotive was used to haul light mail trains in West Bengal, operating between Howrah and Raniganj, and was later used during the Revolt of 1857 to haul troop trains.
It was later consigned to line construction duty in Bihar, where it remained until 1909. The engine was restored and placed at the National Rail Museum in Chanakyapuri, New Delhi which was opened for the public in 1977.
The locomotive was fully restored and returned to commercial service on 18th July, 1997. It was certified by the Guinness Book of Records in 1998 as the world's oldest steam locomotive in regular operation.
The 'Fairy Queen' has also received a National Tourism Award for the most innovative and unique tourism project.