Vintage locomotives compete for best engine model prize in TN

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Coonoor (Tamil Nadu), Oct 19 : In a unique beauty pageant, four vintage steam locomotives vied for the best engine model prize during the Centenary Celebrations of Nilgiris Mountain Railway in Tamil Nadu.

It was a unique contest at Coonoor as the Railways lined up four ageing steam locomotives for a beauty contest.

"Each of the locomotives varies from 90 to 55. Normally the life of a locomotive is about 40 years, but here we have a locomotive, which is ninety-year-old and is still working," said Carmelus, Chief Mechanical Engineer, Nilgiri Mountain Railways.

The four locomotives moved around Coonoor Railway Station for two hours, letting out steam and competing for the coveted title.

"India is a little bit green and the steam engines in India are very nice. The Nilgiri Railway is beautiful," said Haynes, tourist from Switzerland.

The 'Nilgiri Ratna, built in 1918, 'Nilgiri Queen,' an oil fired locomotive built in 1949, the 'Bhagiratha', a coal fired locomotive built in 1949 and 'Aryabhatta' a steam and oil fired locomotive built in 1950 were the contestants.

The 'Nilgiri Ratna' won the first place in the contest.

The Mettupalayam--Coonoor sector of the Nilgiris Mountain Railway has seven steam locomotives of Switzerland plying on it.

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