Darjeeling Railways all set to introduce AC rakes, trial run held from NJP to Tindharia
Darjeeling: The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) is all set to become the first Indian Mountain Railway to introduce air-conditioned rakes.
Incidentally, the DHR, along with the Nilgiri Mountain Railway (NMR) and the Kalka-Shimla Railway (KSR), have been accorded the World Heritage status and have been jointly labelled the Mountain Railways of India.
A successful trial run of the AC rake took place on Thursday, with a diesel locomotive hauling 2 AC carriages and a non-AC carriage from New Jalpaiguri station to Tindharia and back.
"We are technically ready to introduce the AC carriages. We are just awaiting the fare confirmation from Delhi. As soon as the fares are confirmed, we will introduce the AC fares in the Passenger Reservation System and start the AC services," stated Partha Pratim Roy, additional divisional railway manager (ADRM), NJP.
Sources state that the AC coaches would be introduced in the next 7 to 10 days. "We have just added the fuel cost to the first class fare. The cost of AC tickets from NJP to Darjeeling should be around Rs 1,600" added the ADRM.
At present, the cost for a first class ticket is Rs 1,295. The AC coaches can also be available for chartered rides.
The Railways had indigenously converted two first classes coaches at the Siliguri Railway Yard, with the help of the DHR workshop at Tindharia. The cost for the conversion stood at Rs 43 lakh.
The AC coaches have a 15-seat capacity each. The glass coaches also boast of a music-cum-public address system.
In the year 1879, work started on the DHR, then called the Darjeeling Steam Tramways. The stretch from Siliguri to Kurseong was opened on August 23, 1880. The Siliguri to Darjeeling track was inaugurated on July 4, 1881.
The name of the rail company was then changed to Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Company. At present, it covers a 88 km stretch from Darjeeling to New Jalpaiguri. Both steam and diesel locomotives are used. The DHR was inscribed as a World Heritage site on December 2, 1999.