Sometime in early 2013, I had the privilege to meet a first generation retired railway engine designer of the Indian railways. He walked me through the engines he had designed since the 1960′s and with great pride he said that they were literally helping bring people closer from the remotest parts of the country. That visit triggered the idea that some of the most unsung heroes of travel in India are the railway engines.
I was always fascinated by the diversity of trains in India, what with the different forms, colour combinations, horn sounds etc., and this project allowed me to explore and learn about them, their names and the reason behind why they were called that way, where they were designed and made etc. During my initial research, I happened to stumble across a number of online platforms dedicated to the railway engines, where they literally have cult status among the followers. The blogs and discussions were the sources of my knowledge and reference while illustrating the engines. One can find some of the most engaging discussions on www.railpictures.net and my heartfelt thanks to all the members, whose pictures I’ve used as reference for this self initiated project.
I have grown up travelling extensively across the country in these trains and I thought this project could be like a small tribute to them, at the same time, educating interested people on the diversity of the engines.
The project aims to document about a 100 of these engines developed and made since the 18th century. It is a work in progress. Meanwhile, check out the prototype here