Toy train whistles off partially in Hills
Kolkata: Darjeeling Himalayan Railways (DHR) has resumed toy train services within a stretch of 35 km between Siliguri and Sukna on an experimental basis.
There had been speculations that the DHR might lose its heritage status conferred upon it by the UNESCO following prolonged agitation in the Hills. The UNESCO granted world heritage status to the DHR in December 1999 whereas the Hill passenger railway started operations in 1881.
According to sources, DHR had incurred an estimated loss of Rs 2.5 crore due to the Gorkhalnd agitation in the Hills. The DHR is currently carrying out inspections along the entire stretch between Siliguri and Darjeeling as it is planning to resume the full fledged services from next month.
A senior official of the Northeast Frontier Railways said that inspections are being conducted by various departments examining the tracks between Siliguri and Darjeeling. It is expected that full-fledged toy train services between Siliguri and Sukna will resume after October 25 on a regular basis.
The official also said that they would soon issue notification and passengers will be allowed to board the iconic toy trains again. The operation has, however, been resumed on an experimental basis to check if there are any shortcomings while on operation, the official maintained.
The district administration had also taken initiatives to resume the operations
of the toy train as it had been one of the main attractions among the tourists as they love to undertake the journey in the toy train.
The influx of tourists had gone down considerably since the Gorkhaland agitation had erupted leading to a dip in the revenue generation by the state Tourism department. The state government and the district administration are also taking all possible initiatives to resume the toy train in Darjeeling.