Ride back to early 20th century: Patiala monorail comes to rail museum

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A part of rail history is in Delhi, and is offering rides to those interested. More than a century old, Patiala State Monorail Tramway (PSMT) is the latest induction at the National Rail Museum.

Built under the rule of Maharaja Sir Bhupinder Singh of Patiala in 1907, PSMT is a unique system that runs on a single axial rail track and on one side is supported by huge wheels running on road surface. Officials said it is world's only operational locomotive-hauled railway system, built using the Ewing system, where the monorail runs using balancing wheels.

"The Patiala State Monorail Tramway used to run in Patiala from 1907 to 1927. The monorail has been brought from the Amritsar workshop after major overhauling work. The induction of this monorail is part of the Museum Day celebration," said Museum Director Uday Singh Meena said.

He said the decision to use the monorail for joyrides in the Rail Museum was adopted after a successful trial run.The trial run of the steam monorail was conducted at the museum, after the Railway Board Chairman Vinay Mittal flagged the renovated rail.

The original monorail was meant to be drawn with the help of mules. Later, it was provided steam power arrangement. The Patiala monorail was shelved in 1927, when new railway lines were laid.

"The Patiala monorail has been renovated by team of experts of Amritsar workshop, Rewari Steam Shed staff and National Rail Museum. The coach belongs to inspection coach of Col Bowles, on which the present coach body had been reproduced. The locomotive and the saloon have been revived, restored and brought back into operational condition," Meena said.

The administration for the steam-run engine has stocked enough coal. Also a dedicated locomotive pilot has been arranged to run the monorail. Further, the rail museum has introduced an audio guide system to impart information to visitors.

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