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HOME » DARJEELING HILL STATIONS»»THE DARJEELING RAILWAY

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway

Route: New Jalpaiguri - Tindharia - Sukna - Rangtong - Chunbati - Ghum - Darjeeling

The Darjeeling Railway

Darjeeling Train JourneyThe Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, is also known as "Toy Train", is a 2 ft (610 mm) gauge narrow-gauge railway from Siliguri to Darjeeling in the Indian state of West Bengal, run by the Indian Railways. It is one of the most well known hill railways in the world.

It was built between 1879 and 1881 and is about 86 km long. The elevation level is from about 100 m at Siliguri to about 2,200 m at Darjeeling. It is still powered by a steam engine. A modern diesel engine is used for Darjeeling’s mail.

Since 1999 the train has been a World Heritage Site as listed by UNESCO. On the way it passes the most breathtaking scenery and climbs to a height of 7400 feet at Ghum (the highest station on IR & the 2nd highest station in the world), where on a clear day views of Mt. Kanchenchunga can be had.

A ride on the DHR is not for the hurried and hassled traveller who is impatient to reach his destination. It’s for those who believe the journey is the destination. Much like a toy train strung together from match-boxes, the DHR balances on two-feet tracks moving at a maximum speed of 15-km an hour. It takes all of nine hours to reach Darjeeling from Siliguri and at quite a reasonable sum.

History

Franklin Prestage, an agent of Eastern Bengal Railway Company approached the government with a proposal of laying a steam tramway from Siliguri to Darjeeling. The proposal was accepted in 1879 following the positive report of a committee formed by Sir Ashley Eden, the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal. Construction started the same year.Gillander Arbuthnot & Co. constructed the railway. The stretch from Siliguri to Kurseong was opened on 23 August 1880, while the official opening of the line up to Darjeeling was on 4 July 1881.

After the independence of India, DHR was absorbed in the Indian Railway, and became a part of the Northeast Frontier Railway zone in 1958. DHR was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999, only the second railway to have this honour bestowed upon it, the first one being Semmering Railway of Austria in 1998.


 

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