Steam Locomotive F734, now at the National Rail Museum, Shanti Path, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi, India. The first locomotive to be completely built in India, this was manufactured in the Ajmer workshop of the Rajputana Malwa Railway (RMR) in 1895. It weighed 38 tons ("National Rail Museum"), and has an American-style “cowcatcher” in front. Earlier locomotives had been assembled here from spare parts that arrived with imported locomotives, but this was the first to be built from scratch. It has outside connecting and side rods, and was used on Rajputana Malwa, Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railway systems ("History"). [Click on the images to enlarge them.]


View from the other side.

"The Ajmer Workshop of the RMR was one of the more innovative of railway facilities in India, and actually built several classes of locomotives" (Shankar). In fact Ajmer had "two very large railway workshops equipped with extensive machinery, where Locomotive Engines and rolling-stock [were] entirely constructed out of raw material" (Tiwari 180). Note, however, that they would have been staffed at this time by Europeans and Anglo-Indians, and all the senior personnel would have had their engineering training in Britain. This was a matter of some concern even considerably later, when an Industrial Commission of 1916-18 deplored the fact that Indians were still dependent on what the Commissioners called "imported personnel" (Tiwari 181). The answer was, of course, to train up an Indian workforce in the workshops. It seems sad now that such recommendations still needed to be made in the second decade of the twentieth century.

Photographs, formatting and text by Jacqueline Banerjee. You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]


"History of Rail in Rajasthan" (Dept. of Information and Public Relations, Govt. of Rajasthan, Jodphur). Web. 14 March 2014.

"National Rail Museum, Delhi, India." india-tour-guide.co.uk. Web. 14 March 2014.

Shankar, S. "National Rail Museum, New Delhi." IRFCA.org (website of the Indian Railways Fan Club). Web. 14 March 2014.

Tiwari, Chandrika Prasada. Indian Railways: Their Historical, Economical and Administrative Aspects. Ajmer: Scottish Mission Industries Company Limited, 1921. Internet Archive. Web. 14 March 2014.

Last modified 14 March 2014