A steam locomotive is a railway locomotive that produces its pulling power through a steam engine. These locomotives are fuelled by burning combustible material—usually coal/coke, wood, or oil—to produce steam in a boiler. The steam moves reciprocating pistons which are mechanically connected to the locomotive's main wheels. Both fuel and water supplies are carried with the locomotive. The first steam locomotive, made by Richard Trevithick, first operated on 21 February 1804.
Cotton was produced in various parts of the Indian sub-continent and it took days to transport it to England through ships. This expedited matters for the British to introduce a railway in India. Railways were gradually developed, the British East India Company and subsequently by the Colonial British Government. Transport of Indian passengers received little interest till 1947 when India got freedom.
Indian Railways, which had a modest beginning in 1853, The first train in India (and in Asia) was flagged off on April 16, 1853, a Saturday, between Por Bunder (Mumbai) and Thane, a distance of 34 kms. It pioneered a new era in the modern transportation history of India, having replaced the horse cart with steam locomotion.
New steam locomotives were built in India through the early 1970s; the last broad-gauge steam locomotive to be manufactured, Last Star, a WG-class locomotive was built in June 1970, followed by the last meter-gauge locomotive in February 1972. Steam locomotion continued to dominate on the Indian Railways through the early 1980s; in 1980-81, there were 7,469 steam locomotives in regular service. Subsequently, steam locomotion was gradually phased out from regular service, beginning with the Southern Railway Zone in 1985; the number of diesel and electric locomotives in regular service surpassed the number of steam locomotives in service from 1987-88. In 2002, a steam locomotive celebration run was organised between Thane and Mumbai to commemorate...