The steam locomotive and the Anglos

I always liked the steam locomotives. The whistle of a steam locomotive is like the melodious tune of the flute. Not all drivers could produce music out of the steam-engine whistle. Only a few veterans could make the railway engine sing. In those days, when there were only steam locomotives, the drivers were mostly Anglo Indians. The Anglos were not just drivers – in fact they were wedded to the locomotives. There were thousands of Anglos living in Chennai – in areas like Perambur, Royapuram, Purasaiwalkam, St Thomas Mount, etc. Most of them were working in the railways. Some of them were with the telegraph department, the shore batteries, the light houses and so on. The women were mostly typists or teachers. All are dedicated workers in their respective fields. There are many Anglo Indian schools in the state (about 45 or so). There is a separate Inspector in the Education department exclusively for Anglo Indian schools. But now, the number is dwindling. As the steam locomotive is phased out, the Anglo Indian Community is also opting out – many have migrated to Australia. In the accompanying photograph, you can see the Anglo Indian family posing with the steam locomotive in the background. You can see how much they are wedded to the steam locomotive. I am one of the residents of Chennai who miss the Anglo Indian population as well as the steam locomotive.Placeholder ImageThe Anglo Indians with the steam locomotive


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