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DHR starts probe into frequent derailments

The derailed loco of a toy train

Siliguri: Senior railway officials said on Friday that they had initiated a technical probe to find out reasons for recurring incidents of derailment of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway toy train.

In the past seven days, three derailments have been reported in the mountain railway track that leads to Darjeeling from New Jalpaiguri.

A section of officials, however, said lack of maintenance during the 104-day long shutdown in the hills was leading to such incidents.

"Our technical expert team started an investigation to find out the reason for frequent derailments of toy train engines. The team will thoroughly inspect the entire 78km stretch of the DHR (from New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling) tracks and will prepare a detailed report. Once we get the report, it will be easier for us to take necessary steps so that such incidents can be averted," said M.K. Narzery, the director of the DHR.

On February 2, a steam engine got derailed at Siliguri Junction. Again, a steam loco went off the track at Jorekhola, located about 60km from here, on February 4.

Also, on Thursday (February 8), another steam engine went off the track at Tindharia, about 35km from here.

"We could not carry out any inspection or maintenance work of the track during the strike in the hills last year. After the strike was withdrawn at September end, we worked on war footing to restore the tracks by removing weeds and undergrowths, repaired damaged stretches of guard walls and minor landslips. It was then that in December last year, we resumed the service from the NJP to Darjeeling," said a railway official.

But now that frequent incidents of derailment of engines have occurred, they have planned to re-check tracks again, he said.

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