In their black dress you could almost be forgiven for not noticing them, but tonight was the Festival of the Desert. The Desert Queen would lead her remaining consorts into Rajasthan.
Likened to living prehistoric flying reptiles, tonight they would be washed and polished, then dressed with objects of adoration. This would be the last such procession so Last Star would bring up the rear.
Nigam was proud of his charge, he had cared for her for over twenty years, he had dressed the Desert Queen beautifully for tonight they would both retired. A new era had begun diesels had finally ousted the steam train.
Both the Desert Queen and Last Star were steam locomotives in India. In 1998 in India the last regular steam locomotives were withdrawn from service replaced by diesel and electric locomotives. In India locomotive drivers were often paired with their steam locomotive for many years, these drivers took pleasure in decorating their engine. The Desert Queen worked in Rajastan. The Last Star was the last mainline engine built by Indian Railways in 1970.