Darjeeling toy train gets vestibule coaches

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Darjeeling, Oct.25 (ANI): World famous toy train of Darjeeling in West Bengal has received vestibule coaches, which now enables its passengers, who had to earlier jump off the train to enter another compartment, to amble along from one end to the other.

Speaking to media after conducting the first successful trial run, Subrata Nath, Director of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR), disclosed it to media persons on Sunday (October 25).

"We are going to introduce vestibule coaches where a person can move from one coach to another coach. And we are taking a trial run. We have already taken one trial. We will take another one or more trials. This will be the first time in any of the India hill railway that vestibule coaches are introduced," said Subrata Nath, Director, Darjeeling Himalayan Railways.

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) is popularly known as the Darjeeling toy train. The train with vestibule coaches is expected to become operational from November 1.

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR), which runs the toy train, was conferred world heritage status in 1999. It is the second railway line in the world to be declared a UNESCO heritage site, the first being the Zemerin in Austria.

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railways (DHR) route passes through Ghoom, the second highest railway station in the world, situated at a height of 7,407 feet. The arc shaped loop at Ghoom as the train chugs up or down the tracks is a prominent tourist attraction.

This narrow gauge train is referred as 'Toy' because of its relatively small size and the snail pace at which it chugs vis-à-vis other trains hauled by powerful diesel or electric locomotives.

The train still maintains its quaintness with wood compartments and no brakes. It travels at a speed of 10 kilometres per hour.

The engineering marvel used by DHR was inspirational for several mountain railways in the world. For this very reason, the UNESCO declared it as a world heritage site in 1999. As such it is still preserved and operated despite several constraints such as the cost and other odds encountered during monsoon season.

DHR was the result of the sole effort of Frankin Prestage, Agent of the then Eastern Bengal Railways, who not only envisioned it but also played a major part in its construction. By Tarak Sarkar (ANI)

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