National Geographic - India's Railways

Discussion in 'The Real Thing- International' started by MasonJar, Jun 30, 2004.

  1. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Oct 31, 2002
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    I posted this as part of another reply, but thought it was worth mentioning here...

    The other day I saw a really good National Geographic show on PBS on the end of steam for India's National Railways. Very sad show, but interesting. I talked to my grandfather a bit about it, and he spent a lot of time on the trains in India in WW2, including some of the trains I saw on the show.

    The stats were incredible - 1.6 million EMPLOYEES, moving over 12 million passengers PER DAY!!! Holy moly! And really interesting "human" side to the company - railway widows (whose husbands were killed or died (even by suicide) while employed by the railway) are given jobs for life.

    Sadly, most of the steamers were purchased for scrap, but a few examples were retained, including the Darjeeling "toy" tea train, a tiny tea kettle of a loco running on 2 foot gauge up 4 or 5% slopes into the mountains. There is a 5 man crew for the tiny tank engine - driver, fireman, coal breaker (who sits on top of the engine smashing big lumps of coal into little lumps) and two sanders - they scoop sand out of buckets with their hands and throw it on the rails for traction...!

    Very cool show... If you see a repeat, fire up the VCR!


    Edit - here is an informative link: