Here is high quality news for tourists. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) will introduce a luxury air-conditioned Toy Train between Siliguri Junction and Kurseong during the upcoming Durga Puja. Two more joy rides will also chug between Siliguri Junction and Kurseong in September.
The world heritage DHR is among the most famous tourist attractions in Darjeeling, and many international tourists visit Darjeeling only to take a ride on the Toy Trains.
“We will introduce a Toy Train service with luxury air conditioned coaches between Siliguri Junction and Kurseong and back during the festive season. We are working on the plans, and the coaches are being built. Tourists who visit the region during the puja vacation can enjoy the trip. This apart, we will introduce two more joy rides and the services are expected to be functional from September,” said the additional divisional railway manager of NJP, Partha Pratim Roy.
At present, there are nine joy rides between Darjeeling and Ghoom, the country’s highest railway station at 2,258 metres above sea level.
“Apart from the regular Toy Train services between New Jalpaiguri Station and Darjeeling, there are nine joy rides at present, and we will introduce two more,” Mr Roy added.
Meanwhile, the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) is taking precautionary measures to run the Toy Train during the monsoon season. Every year during the monsoon, the train service face disruption due to landslides in the Hills.
The service between NJP and Darjeeling had been suspended for two months last year after boulders fell and damaged tracks on 1 August. The track restoration work got delayed after the boulders and landslips kept falling, following incessant rainfall, which damaged the railway tracks and hampered repair work at Lower Paglajhora. Drones were pressed into service to examine the hillside above the road from where boulders continuously fell.
“We are examining the track condition. Landslide prone areas have been identified, like the stretches between Sukna and Rongtong, Rongtong and Tindharia and Tindharia and Sonada, Gayabari section. Monsoon precautions are being taken. As part of the same, new concrete sleepers are being installed,” Mr Roy said.
The railways will celebrate 20 years of heritage status of DHR in October. In 1999, the DHR was conferred the World Heritage status by UNESCO. Mr Roy said a DHR souvenir stall will come up at NJP station.
“We already have a DHR kiosk at the station, and people can also book tickets for the Toy Train there. A souvenir stall will also be set up there,” he added.