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Darjeeling Himalayan Railway starts evening ride

Passengers will have to pay Rs 1,000 for a ride in the general coach and those who want to enjoy the on-board refreshments will have to part with Rs 1,200

By Bireswar Banerjee in Siliguri
  • Published 17.12.18, 1:24 AM
  • Updated 17.12.18, 1:24 AM
  • a min read
  •  
DHR officials flag off the evening ride at Siliguri Junction. (Passang Yolmo)

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway introduced its first evening ride on Sunday with the launch of a service between Siliguri Junction station and Rongtong in Darjeeling.

C.P. Gupta, the divisional railway manager of the Katihar division of the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR), flagged off the new service, along with other officials.

“Considering the popularity of the DHR’s toy trains, we introduced the new ride for tourists and DHR enthusiasts. They can enjoy a ride in the toy train through forests and relish the scenic beauty of the Darjeeling hills while having tea and snacks on board. Previously, one had to charter a train to enjoy such facilities,” said Gupta.

This is the first time that tourists will be able to enjoy a train ride through the forests and the hilly tracts in the afternoon and evening hours.

DHR sources said it would be a 33km-long ride from Siliguri to Rongtong and back. Every day, the train will leave Siliguri at 3pm and reach Rongtong at 3.55pm. It will halt there for around 25 minutes during which the passengers can get down at the little station and take a stroll. The train will leave Rongtong at 4.20pm and reach Siliguri Junction at 5.50pm.

A steam loco will haul a general coach with a seating capacity of 17 and a dining compartment that can accommodate 12.

Passengers will have to pay Rs 1,000 for a ride in the general coach and those who want to enjoy the on-board refreshments will have to part with Rs 1,200. “We felt that the steam loco, which suits the world heritage status of the toy train, will attract more passengers,” said the DRM.

“If we get good response, we can add another dining coach with the existing service so that more passengers can avail themselves of the facility. Our officials will talk to tour operators to make the service popular among tourists,” added Gupta.

As of now, eight of the 13 steam locos of the DHR are operational. The railways plan to make the remaining five locos operational by May next year.

As of now, regular services are available from New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling and from Kurseong to Darjeeling. Four joy rides operate between Darjeeling and Ghoom every day also.