Darjeeling Himalayan Railway - a heritage story

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) or Toy Train

Posted by on Thursday, 12th October 2023.

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) or Toy Train as the locals call it, is a UNESCO World Heritage site tempting a large number of global travellers every year to Darjeeling, the queen of the hills. Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is a engineering marvel in 19th century. Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is a 2 feet gauge railway running between New Jalpaiguri (Siliguri) to Darjeeling station.

Before 1881, Darjeeling was connected by Tonga servises (Horse carts and Bullock carts) with the plains of Siliguri via a cart road which is now called Hill Cart Road. Franklin Prestage an agent with the Eastern Bengal Railway proposed first to lay a railway track between Siliguri and Darjeeling. New Jalpaiguri Station station did not exist in those days. Siliguri Town Station was the base station. Ashley Eden, the Lieutenant General of Bengal constituated a committee to find the feasibility. The proposal was accepted by the committee in 1879 and Gillanders, Arbuthnot and Company was hired to construct the line. In 1880 the track was laid till Tindharia and Lord Lytton, the Viceroy of India rode till Tindharia by the new train. He was the first Viceroy of India to visit Darjeeling. In 1881 the second phase was completed between Tindharia and Darjeeling and on 4th July, 1881 the first train reached Darjeeling from Siliguri. The name of the Railway company was changed as Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Company.

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway was the lifeline of Darjeeling hills and it carried passengers as well as goods to the hills in large volumes. Such was its success that its services has been extended to Kishanganj in 1914 and another track was laid till Gielkhola near Rambhi Bazar in Kalimpong and it was named as Teesta Valley Extension Railway.

In 1951, the railway was purchased by the Indian government and was absorbed into the government railway organisation. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999.

Today Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is having diesel locomotives as well as steam locomotives. To get more details about DHR (Darjeeling Himalayan Railway) services you can visit http://www.marinetoalpine.com or your can write to us at info@marinetoalpine.com. You can call us at +91-9733533000 too. Darjeeling Himalayan Railway offers Joy Rides in Darjeeling (Steam & Diesel both), Jungle Safari Ride in Siliguri (Steam). DHR can be chartered for group travel, corporate programs, school or acadmic excursions. Both the locomotives (diesel and steam) can be hired as per the routes specified by Darjeeling Himalayan Railway.

Tags: DHR, darjeeling, himalayan, railway, toy train, unesco, heritage, joy ride, siliguri, station, indian railways, world heritage
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