Landslides disrupt toy train service in West Bengal
Siliguri, May 28: Landslides in West Bengal have disrupted the movement of the world famous toy train, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.The famous Darjeeling toy train runs between Siliguri and Darjeeling.
The train stopped operation from Tuesday as heavy rains and severe landslides washed away a huge portion of the railway track. A huge pile of debris has accumulated on the tracks, halting the operation of the toy train.
"In 80 km route from Siliguri junction to Darjeeling, we have got landslides at 41 spots and total amount of muds and boulders is about 3500 cubic metres. We also have tree fallen on tracks at 16 spots. Out of the 16 spots, two spots are very heavy because very big tree trunk has fallen on track. We have got one location near Ghum where a portion of our track is washed away in between two buildings," said Subrata Nath, director, Darjeeling Himalayan Railways (DHR).
The DHR is trying hard to resume the journey at the earliest, but the service is expected to resume not earlier than seven to ten days."We are trying our best to resume the services between new Jalpaiguri, Siliguri to Kerseong by Saturday. That will cover around 50 km of our track. So around 60 km, we will be able to make operational by this Saturday. And for the other one it may take another seven to ten days," added Nath.
The DHR toy train was started in 1896 by the then British Lieutenant Governor Ashley Eden, offering riders an opportunity to enjoy the majestic beauty of nature along the Darjeeling hills.
At the beginning, this railway was named as the Darjeeling steam Tramway Co. Later when India gained independence in 1947, the railway was named as the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR).DHR was declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO on December 5 at their 23rd session.