India's historic Fairy Queen train was built by a British firm and acquired by Eastern Indian Railways in 1855. Interestingly, it was an exhibit at the National Rail Museum in Delhi for many years, before being restored and made operational again 1997. In 1999, it won a National Tourism Award for the most innovative and unique tourism project.
The train's steam engine was renowned for being the oldest working engine in the world.
However, it's now been replaced by a more recent WP 7161 steam locomotive, which was made in 1965 and used extensively by Indian Railways before being later phased out. The train has also been renamed as the Steam Express.
The Fairy Queen Steam Express train's engine hauls a single air-conditioned carriage, which seats up to 60 people. The seats are in good condition with cloth upholstery. They're located in pairs, on either side of a wide aisle. The train has a large glass window at the front for viewing the locomotive, and a scenic observation lounge that provides excellent views of the countryside. It's also equipped with a pantry car for on board catering.
Route and Itinerary
The train runs from Delhi to Alwar, via Rewari (where the Rewari Steam Loco Shed is situated). It has shorts stops along the way to refill with water for making steam. The trip is for one night/two days. Upon arrival at Alwar, passengers are taken to Sariska National Park for a stay at the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation's Tiger Den economy hotel.
There's a cultural program and theme dinner at the hotel in the night, and jeep safari through Sariska National Park early the next morning.
The Fairy Queen train operates from October to March each year. It usually departs twice a month, on the second and fourth Saturdays. The train leaves from Delhi Cantonment railway station at 9 a.m. and reaches Alwar at 3 p.m. On the return journey, it leaves Alwar the following day at 1 p.m. and arrives back in Delhi at 6.45 p.m.
There are a number of different options for travel, and you don't have to return to Delhi or stay at Sariska National Park.
- The full package of a return train journey, with sightseeing and a stay at Sariska, costs 12,375 rupees for adults and 6,325 rupees for children.
- A one way train trip from Delhi to Alwar, with sightseeing and a stay at Sariska, costs 8,965 rupees for adults and 4,620 rupees for children.
- A return train trip from Delhi to Alwar, without any extras, costs 7,315 rupees for adults and 3,795 rupees for children.
A one way train trip from Delhi to Alwar, or Alwar to Delhi, without any extras, costs 3,795 rupees for adults and 2,035 rupees for children.
A one way train trip from Delhi to Rewari, or Rewari to Delhi, costs 2,245 rupees for adults and 1,260 rupees for children.
A one way train trip from Rewari to Alwar, or Alwar to Rewari, costs 2,275 rupees for adults and 1,275 rupees for children.
Entrance fees for Sariska are additional. Children under five years old travel free.
Reservations and Information
You can make online reservations for travel on the Fairy Queen on the Indian Railways Catering & Tourism Corporation's Rail Tourism website.
Otherwise, bookings can be made at the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation office on Platform 16 at New Delhi Railway Station, or M-13 Punj House, Connaught Place, Delhi.
Phone: (011) 23701101 or toll free 1800110139. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
More information is also available here.
- It can be very cold in the morning, and as the safari takes place in open top jeeps, do make sure you bring plenty of warm clothing.
- There is ready access for taking photos before the train departs from Delhi, including an invitation onto the footplate to watch a demonstration of firing the locomotive.
- Visit Rewari Steam Loco Shed to see vintage broad gauge and meter gauge steam locomotives. Rewari is about two hours from Delhi and makes an interesting day trip.
- Foreign tourists should note that the accommodations provided as part of the tour are basic.