The Ministry of Railways have identified several reformative measures to promote heritage preservation. To give focused attention to preserve Indian Railways’ century old rich heritage, the Railway Board recently organized a day-long event of heritage officers of Zonal Railways and Production Units. Chairman, Railway Board Sh Ashwani Lohani presided over the meeting. Welcoming the participants, Secretary, Railway Board Sh Ranjanesh Sahai emphasized the need for heritage preservation in Indian Railways. Sh Sahai mentioned such a brainstorming meeting is a first of its kind happening in Ministry of Railways.
On lines of reviving Fairy Queen Steam Locomotive and setting up of Rewari Steam Centre, the Board is now gearing up to launch a special drive to identify various heritage items/artefacts that are currently lying unnoticed at different locations. The Board plans to ensure proper preservation and display of such heritage items; open a logbook of all major events, both at Zonal Railways as well as at National Rail Museum to record the timelines of Railways history; The heritage preservation efforts would include facilitating revival of Steam Locomotives and run regular time-tabled trains on Steam Traction. Upkeep of Hill railways and bringing them to World Standard etc. will also be high on the agenda.
About 40 senior level officers from Zonal Railways and Production Units including several retired Board Members and rail enthusiasts attended the event. An open interactive session was conducted at National Rail Museum. The objective of the session was to create more awareness about the technology and preservation processes of different domains of Heritage of Indian Railways namely Museum Management, Conservation of Built Heritage of buildings, Stations, Bridges etc. including Meter Gauge/Narrow Gauge Sections, Preservation and Digitization of Railway Archives, Management of World Heritage Sites, Collection and preservation of artefacts like equipment, signaling/track items etc., Digital India-Digital Rail Campaign: Digitization and online dissemination of Railway heritage contents to the World etc.
Experts from renowned agencies like INTACH, C-DAC (Ministry of IT), Google Art & Culture, UNESCO, Centre for Heritage Management/ Ahmedabad University etc. were present to explain various details of these areas. The sessions as Enabling Event for railway officers, who are mostly not formally trained in the domain of Heritage Preservation, were widely appreciated by the Railway officers.