statesman news service
SILIGURI, 12 JUNE: The parliamentary standing committee members for railways will arrive in Darjeeling tomorrow for a two-day trip in the Hills and inspect the present activities of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR), a UNESCO-declared world heritage, including the Ghoom railway station.
This is the first time that a parliamentary team on railways would be reviewing the DHR after landslides damaged the toy train tracks three years ago in 2010.
The toy train service was suspended from Siliguri to Kurseong after railway tracks collapsed due to massive landslides between Chunabhati and Kurseong in 2010.
The toy train tracks were damaged due to landslides on 14 June 2010 in several places like Chunvati, Tindharia, Gayabari, Mahanadi and other areas near Kurseong. There is no existence of railway tracks at present.
According to railway officials, several parts of the railway tracks between New Jalpaiguri (NJP) and Kurseong have been damaged and services have been suspended for the past three years.
The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) authorities are hopeful that toy train services on the track (NJP-Kurseong) will be resumed from November this year. However, the toy train services between Kurseong and Darjeeling remained uninterrupted.
"The committee, led by T R Baalu will review the condition of the DHR. They will mainly visit Darjeeling and Ghoom. The committee may suggest some measures to improve the infrastructure, “said the Katihar divisional railway manager (DRM) Mr Arun Sharma.
Mr Sharma said the committee would hold a meeting with the NFR and DHR officials.
The committee, however, may not visit the Tindharia Locomotive works ~ the DHR workshop, which was severely affected by the landslides.
Notably, the National Highway 55 and the toy train tracks, which run parallel to each other and tracks depend on NH 55, had suffered major damages during landslides at Paglajhora in 2010 and at Tindharia in 2011.
Since then, a section of NH55 and DHR services up to Kurseong were suspended. The repairing work has not yet been started there.
Mr Sharma said the NFR was hopeful that toy train services between NJP and Kurseong might be resumed by November this year. “We are working independently to restore the track and we are expecting to restore the track by November, “he added.