Construction of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway started in 1879 and the railway track reached Ghum on 4 April 1881. Until 1878, the journey from Kolkata to Darjeeling took 5–6 days – using steam-engine-pulled trains, crossing the Ganges by steam ferry at Sahebganj, and then using bullock carts and palanquins. In 1878, Siliguri was put on the railway map of India, cutting down the journey to two days.
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, also known as the “Toy Train”, is a 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge railway that runs between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling in the Indian state of West Bengal, India. Built between 1879 and 1881, the railway is about 78 kilometres (48 mi) long. Its elevation level varies from about 100 metres (328 ft) at New Jalpaiguri to about 2,200 metres (7,218 ft) at Darjeeling. Four modern diesel locomotives handle most of the scheduled services; however the daily Kurseong-Darjeeling return service and the daily tourist trains from Darjeeling to Ghum (India’s highest railway station as claimed by locals) are handled by the vintage British-built B Class steam locomotives. The railway, along with the Nilgiri Mountain Railway and the Kalka-Shimla Railway, is listed as the Mountain Railways of India World Heritage Site.
Picture Credits: @arunabh_bhattacharjee.
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