A group of representatives of the Darjeeling Railway Consultative Committee (DRCC) based in Darjeeling met officials of the Northeast Frontier Railway on Wednesday and placed the demand to introduce short-distance toy train services from Darjeeling for the ease of local residents.
Mukundaraj Barailly, a representative of the Committee said they had a meeting with the official of Northeast Frontier Railway at Darjeeling on Wednesday. During the meeting, they submitted a number of suggestions to the railway official including the launch of DHR short-distance services.
“The short-distance toy train rides between Darjeeling and Ghum or Darjeeling to Sonada may be of great help for regular commuters who visit the hill town from the outskirts. This will also save them time and they can avoid traffic jams on the roads,” said Barailly, also a member of Darjeeling municipality.
The DRCC members also came up with certain other suggestions such as restrictions on using DHR stations as thoroughfares by local residents by introducing platform tickets, maintaining cleanliness at the station area, taking steps to preserve the old steam locos and starting concessional tickets for students so that they can also enjoy Joy Rides, the most popular toy train service.
A few days back, a delegation of the Railway Enthusiasts Society which comprises former railway officials and people from different walks of life visited the hills. During their two-day visit, the delegation also recommended similar train services.
Sources in DHR said the lack of adequate locos (both steam and diesel) was one of the major deterrents in launching short services.
According to a source, as of now, out of a total of 13 steam locos, seven are operational. Only five diesel locos are in service and are mainly used to run regular services between Darjeeling and New Jalpaiguri.
“We will definitely forward their suggestions to higher officials. Once we get approval, we can work further with our available resources,” said Priyanshu, the director of DHR.