Hundred years and counting

Turning centenarian this year, it is one of the oldest fire-fighting engines in the country. After rendering its services for years at the princely state of Hyderabad, the Morris fire engine is getting decked up to participate in the Statesman Vintage and Classic Car Rally on Sunday. Having won many titles at rallies, the engine has become a huge crowd puller.

Built by the famous fire engineers John Morris and Sons Ltd of Salford in Manchester, UK, in 1914, it is also the only Morris-Belsize fire engine in the world running on solid rubber tyres.

At present, there are two century-old Morris fire engines in the world. The other is preserved by the Enfield & District Veteran Vehicle at Whitewebbs Museum of Transport, London, and has been converted to use pneumatic tyres.

Stationed at the National Rail Museum in Delhi, the fire engine is being readied by the railway officials to again woo the citizens at the vintage car rally on Sunday.

A team of officials from the Lallaguda workshop of the South Central Railway has specially arrived to put the century-old fire engine on the road.

For the 39 km-long car rally, the fire engine is being tuned, the nuts and bolts are being tightened, and axial bearing and wheels are being greased. It has also got a new coat of paint ahead of the big day.

"Made in 1914, the Morris fire engine is a historic fire engine. In 1915, the fire engine was taken over by the then Nizam State Railways for the Lallaguda carriage and wagon workshop fire station. Later, with the formation of the South Central Railway, the assets of the Nizam were shifted to the Railways. Since then, the fire engine has been maintained by the Indian Railways," says National Museum Director Uday Singh Mina.

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