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Darjeeling - Darjeeling Himalayan Railway



DARJEELING HIMALAYAN RAILWAY

Starting from New Jalpaiguri, the little train popularly known as Toy Train travels through the plains till Sukna and then clings uphill to reach the second highest steam locomotive Railway station in the world, Ghoom (alt. 7,408 ft.) before descending nearly thousand feet to reach Darjeeling.

Officially known as the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, it is as much a pioneering work of achievement, projecting not only its engineering ingenuity but also a historic development of the 19th century British convalescent center in the remote north eastern Himalayas. In 1870, an agent working for the Eastern Bengal Railway came up with a brilliant idea to reduce the costs of transport. His name Franklyn Prestage -- the idea -- the Toy Train. It took eight long years for Prestage to submit his scheme to Lt. Governor Sir Ashley Eden, who gave it immediate sanction. Named the Darjeeling Steam Tramway Co., it was changed to The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Co. on September 15th 1881. It remained as such till it was taken over by the Indian Government on Oct. 20, 1948. The construction had begun in 1879 and with the zeal shown by the workers, the first 20 miles from Siliguri to Tindharia station was opened in March 1880 for the Viceroy's special train only. After a further 11 miles to Kurseong were completed, it was opened to the public on August 23 of that year. Sonada was reached on February 1, 1881, the summit of Ghoom on April l4th, 1881 and finally on July 4th 1881 the baby locomotive and three coaches puffed right through to Darjeeling-a total of 50.75 miles.


The construction of this line is considered a unique engineering feat because of its steep gradient, sharp curves, Z-crossing and loops. There are three loops on this line, Batasia Loop between Ghoom and Darjeeling being the most famous one. Apart from this, the section has five major and 498 minor bridges. The Darjeeling-Himalayan Section has its own workshop at Tindharia where the major overhauling of locomotives, carriages and wagons are undertaken along with manufacturing of spares.

 

Stations En route

 

Station Distance from Siliguri (Km) Altitude (in ft.)
New Jalpaiguri (-)7.42 480
Siliguri Town (-)4.99 500
Siliguri Junction 0.0 500
Sukna 10.06 533
Rong Tong 17.70 1404
Tindharia 29.77 2822
Gayabari 36.20 3516
Mahanadi  42.08 4120
Kurseong 49.48 4864
Tung  56.92 5656
Sonada  64.97 6552
Ghoom  74.03 7404
Darjeeling  80.06 6812



 

 


 

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