India is steeped in rich history, relics and architecture of the past. The country’s history can be traced back almost 5,000 years. It has been conquered and has been the conquerer of lands many times over, giving it an interesting conglomeration of cultures from around the world that have melded into the rich heritage you see today.
Part of that heritage comes from one of India’s most loved forms of travel. Train travel was introduced by the British in the mid 19th century when a network of tracks were built around the country in order to more readily explore the landscape and get from one area to another, faster and more safely than before.
The Fairy Queen was one of the first trains to be introduced to the tracks in India in 1855 and continues to be a part of this enigmatic country’s story. Taking an excursion on this piece of history can be a great way to explore the Northern part of India and learn about its people and culture.
- 1 What is the oldest steam train still continually running?
- 2 Was the Fairy Queen in the Guinness Book of World Records?
- 3 When does the Fairy Queen run?
- 4 Can you sleep on the Fairy Queen?
- 5 Where does the Fairy Queen go?
- 6 Can you eat on the Fairy Queen?
- 7 Is there WiFI on the Fairy Queen?
- 8 How much does the Fairy Queen cost?
- 9 Is the Fairy Queen worth it?
What is the oldest steam train still continually running?
The oldest continually running steam locomotive in the world is the Fairy Queen. The Fairy Queen is almost as old as the railroad system in India, itself. Having been established in 1855, the Fairy Queen has been showing passengers the incredible Indian countryside throughout this time.
The train is so valuable and coveted, that in 2011 it was discovered that many of it antique, valuable parts had been stolen by looters. It took a full year for these parts to be fabricated and installed back onto the train. This kept the train out of service until 2012 when it was deemed fully operational once more.
Was the Fairy Queen in the Guinness Book of World Records?
The Fairy Queen was certified as the oldest steam locomotive still in regular operation in 1998 and received the Guinness Book of World Records designation. The train was built in England and was then moved to India, where it was used by the East Indian Railway Company. There was a hiatus of use from 1909 until 1997 when it was fully restored and put back into service.
Today the train is restored and operational in its former glory and takes passengers to and from great destinations in India.
When does the Fairy Queen run?
The Fairy Queen is still running but has limited its service to running twice a month between the months of October and March. The weather in Northern India at this time is likely to be warm and sunny, therefore pack your bags accordingly.
The Fairy Queen runs on the second and fourth Saturday of these months. Book your tickets sooner than later as they tend to sell out.
Can you sleep on the Fairy Queen?
You can sleep on the Fairy Queen, however your nap won’t be in a bed. Unfortunately the Fairy Queen does not have sleeping quarters, but has comfortable seating for you to enjoy on your journey.
The coach is equipped with plush reclining seats that you can rest and close your eyes in, but you don’t want to miss the view that will be passing you.
You also can have a great night’s sleep at the Sariska Palace Hotel where you will find lavishly comfortable accommodations that will having you feeling like royalty. Here, you will also enjoy a dinner and a breakfast to get the full experience of the hotel.
Where does the Fairy Queen go?
The Fairy Queen starts in Delhi at the Cantonment Railway Station where is will travel 89 miles at a nice leisurely pace in order to get the most of the scenery that will be presented on your trip. The train makes several stops so that you can stretch and enjoy places on the route.
A fun fact to note is that because the Fairy Queen is a steam locomotive, the train must stop frequently along the route to fill with water, have the undercarriage cleaned and have the exterior smoke stack shined. So many people along the route clamor to see this historic train that engineers always keep it in tip -top shape.
The first stop you will come to is the famous Siliserh Lake. If you are a lover of history, this will pique your interest. The Neemrana Fort Palace, a 15th century marvel of architecture, complete with stepped gardens, palatial wings and beautiful courts awaits your exploration. Have high tea before heading on to your next destination.
After stopping for the night in this Northern Indian state of Rajasthan, you will be free to do as you please. Check into the Sariska Palace Hotel and rest a bit. The hotel sits on 120 acres of land outside the national park with the same name, so the scenery is stunning. This hotel is known for famous movies shooting scenes in and around the hotel.
After having breakfast at the hotel, you will visit the Alwar Fort, the City Palace and the Birla Mandir. However, the main excursion is the Sariska Tiger Fort. On this safari you will see pigs, deer and of course their predator, the tiger!
After a fabulous dinner at the hotel you will board the train for the trek back to Delhi.
Can you eat on the Fairy Queen?
There is a dining car on the Fairy Queen that serves delicious Indian food as well as cuisine from around the world. For breakfast, you can expect items such as paratha, idli, dosa, and poha or eggs bacon and toast if you are used to more Western fare.
For lunch, you can choose from array of Indian cuisine such as tikka masala, biryani, and dal makhani. Sandwiches and salads are also served.
Dinner can include Indian staples such as butter chicken, naan, and gulab jamun or choose from steak, potatoes and vegetables for a more Western palate.
Is there WiFI on the Fairy Queen?
The Fairy Queen is a heritage train that is historical in nature, therefore it does not have the infrastructure to support a WiFi system. However, you can arrange before the trip to connect to an Indian Mobile Data Network. The average cost of one gigabyte of data in India is $0.17 per gig. Now that’s a deal!
Ensure that you are following the social norms of the culture when it comes to cell phone usage while on the train. Make sure your phone is always on silent and refrain from loud conversations in public spaces.
How much does the Fairy Queen cost?
The cost for this amazing little getaway is the best part! For this two-day and one-night stay complete with all meals and entertainment, you will only spend around $200 per person. Any other excursions not on the itinerary will be an additional cost.
Is the Fairy Queen worth it?
The Fairy Queen is an amazing trip that will show you some very interesting and historical places of India. It is a great trip to choose if you don’t have much time to spare, or you are wanting to spend a night in a hotel versus a train. It is also one of the most economical train excursions available in India.