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Engine 899 Traditional Geocache

This cache has been archived.

DuneBuddy: One of my favorites, but it's time to archive.

Hidden : 03/12/2011
1.5 out of 5
1.5 out of 5

Size: Size:   small (small)

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Geocache Description:

Anyone who has traveled in India has probably gone by rail at least once. Cache is located in the National Railway Museum. It is home to the worlds oldest working steam locomotive also the oldest existing "monorail". Posted hours are 8:30-11:30 AM and 16:00-17:30 PM in the summer, 9:00-17:30 in the winter. Closed Mondays.

The plan to introduce a railway system between Madras and Bangalore was first proposed in 1832. However the first train in India was not operational until December 22, 1851, and was used for hauling construction materials in Roorkee for the Solani viaduct. It was powered by a steam locomotive, Thomason. Standard gauge wagons were used, built on the spot from parts brought from England through Calcutta , and hauled by men and later horses. It hauled two wagons at a time, at a speed of about 6km/h. It did not last very long, and after about 9 months India's first steam locomotive died a spectacular death with a boiler explosion, reportedly to the delight of the construction workers who had viewed it more as a hindrance than help. The second locomotive to arrive in India was Falkland (named for a governor of Bombay), used by the contractors of the GIPR for shunting operations on the first line out of Bombay that was being built. It began work on February 23, 1852.

As with many firsts, there is a discrepancy on when the first passenger train ran in India. On November 18, 1852 a locomotive hauled some coaches on a trial run from Bori Bunder to Thane.

Five months later, on April 16, 1853, at 3:35 pm, a 21 gun salute set off a train with 14 railway carriages and 400 guests from Bombay's Bori Bunder bound for Thane, a distance of 34 km (21 miles). It was hauled by three locomotives: Sindh, Sultan, and Sahib. The journey took an hour and fifteen minutes.

By 1880, the rail network totaled about 14,500 km (9,000 miles), mostly working through Bombay, Madras and Calcutta, the country’s three major port cities.

By 1895, India had started manufacturing its own locomotives. In no time, different kingdoms assembled their independent rail systems and the network extended to the regions including Assam, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh. In 1901, a Railway Board was formed though the administrative power was reserved for the Viceroy, Lord Curzon. In 1907, most of the rail companies came under government control. The first electric locomotive emerged in the next year.

During the First World War the railways were used to meet the needs of the British outside India. By the end of the war, the railways were in a state of disrepair and collapse. During the Second World War, trains were diverted to the Middle East and the railways workshops were converted to ammunitions workshops.

At independence in 1947, India inherited a decrepit rail network. About 40 per cent of the railways passed through the newly independent republic of Pakistan. A large number of lines had to be rerouted through Indian territory, and new construction had to be undertaken. A total of forty-two separate railway systems, including thirty-two lines owned by the former Indian princely states existed at the time of independence spanning a total of 55,000 km. These were amalgamated into the Indian Railways.

In 1985, steam locomotives were phased out. In 1987, computerization of reservation first was carried out in Bombay and in 1989 the train numbers were standardized to four digits. In 1995 the entire railway reservation was computerized through the railway's intranet. India is home to the longest super fast train that runs between Thiruvananthapuram to Guwathi over a distance of nearly 3000 km.

Today, the Indian Railways covers a total of over 63,000 kilometers.

The Matheran Hill Railway is a heritage railway in Maharashtra, India that runs between Neral and Matheran. It was built between 1901 and 1907.

Neral, the starting point, is about midway between Mumbai and Pune. The railway covers a distance of 20 km (12.43 mi), over large swathes of forest territory connecting Neral to Matheran in the Western Ghats hills near Karjat and Mumbai.

Originally, the tracks were laid with 30lb rails but now has 42lb rails. Ruling gradient is 1:20 (5%) with tight curves and speeds are limited to 20 km/h (12.4 mph). The line includes “One Kiss Tunnel”, a reference to its short length.

This line included “Engine” #899 (sometimes listed as 8899). It is unusual because it was built in 1932 on the chassis of a 1930’s Dodge truck. This extremely lightweight (1.5 ton) railcar transmits power to the wheels by a chain, and has a peculiar wheel arrangement with a four-wheel bogie at front end and single axle at the rear. With a wooden body and a fuel tank capacity of 10 gallons, the car could seat 12 passengers. Like all other cars-on-rails, this one is provided with a hand brake. According to a 2000 report, there is one more similar railcar still in existence on the Neral-Matheran line that is used by inspecting officials only, and does not run a regular service .

The cache is located on this unusual engine. Although located in an out-of-the-way place on the museum grounds, to decrease the change of muggles observing cachers looking for the cache, a photograph showing the exact location of the cache is included with the listing. It is located midway on the left side of the car, inside a 15cm X 15 cm door used to gain access to the underside of the carriage. See Spoiler. The cache is a small hide-a-key container. Bring your own pen.

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