India’s oldest monorail was once owned by the Maharaja of Patiala, Bhupinder Singh. There is a ride every Thursday at the National Rail Museum in Chanakyapuri (New Delhi). It is open to the general public only for one day a week. It is an idea by the Indian Railways to conserve its heritage, by restoring the 108-year-old locomotive which runs within the compound of the rail museum.
The monorail is a 10 seater and makes 4 trips in a day. The cost of one single journey, which is a 400-meter long trip is ₹500 per person. It runs on a single track with a large wheel attached to it on one side to balance the train.
Railway officials say that four such locomotives were imported by the erstwhile princely state of India, which also includes one locomotive by the ruler of Patiala in 1908 from the United Kingdom.
The Patiala State Monorail Trainways was brought inside the Rail Museum 30 years back and the reconstruction was started by the Railways board Chairman Ashwani Lohani of the museum last year. Lohani after taking charge in August last year said that the preservation of rail heritage as one of its priorities.
The steam locomotive which was in operation for 6 years with the Maharaja of Patiala, took the railway officials 3 months to reintroduce it, till the arrival of the standard gauge trains in the country. Maharaja Bhupinder Singh got this unique railway system to the state and it ran for the public too. It used to run between Patiala and Sunam which is approximately 30 to 40 miles.
At the moment there’s only one coach so only 10 people can be seated at a time and initially, it is being operated only once a week, however, the museum authorities will increase the seating capacity and frequency both soon.
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