The serene county of Bedfordshire in East England will play host to Indian decorations, north Indian menu and a lot of visitors to welcome the run of two of India’s historic steam locomotives in their town that will run during the “Indian Extravaganza” this weekend on the Leighton Buzzard Railway, one of England’s finest narrow gauge lines.
Engine No 19 (no name!), the only steam locomotive from the famous Darjeeling Himalayan Railway to have left India, and No 778, which was built in the USA for the First World War battlefields, and then spent over 60 years working in sugar mills in Uttar Pradesh on secondary railways in India. The two historic engines, now in working order are scheduled to haul passenger trains on both days, with departures every 50 minutes from 10.40am to 3.40pm.
“When they will run over the weekend, 5th and 6th May, the Leighton Buzzard Railway will be transformed into a little piece of India. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Society will decorate Leighton Buzzard’s Page’s Park station in the style of northern India,” Mervyn Leah, spokesperson of the Leighton Buzzard Railway told DNA.
India’s Minister of state for railways Adhir Rajan Choudhary and railway board executive director (heritage) Manu Goyal will be visiting the event on Sunday, along with Monisha Rajesh, the author of “Around India In 80 Trains.”
On both days, there will be genuine Indian cuisine on offer in the Page’s Park station buffet, provided by Mum’s Kitchen of Watford. At Stonehenge Works, the “country” end of the line, the newly completed miniature track will feature on both days working scale models of locomotives which have run on the Darjeeling railway, past and present.
“Our links with the narrow-gauge railways of India go back over 40 years, and we are delighted to be offering once again the opportunity for others to share our enthusiasm,” Leah added.