The refurbishment of all the 14 railway stations of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, which enjoys a World Heritage site status from UNESCO, has started with Sukna station, 10 km from here, where signboards have been put up in blue and yellow.
The boards show the name of the station, distance to other stations and direction, besides informing passengers about the UNESCO world heritage status of the toy train.
"We are putting in all efforts to highlight the DHR as a prime tourism destination. In the process, we have started the revamp of all 14 stations that fall along the 80 km route of the hill railway from New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling," said the Divisional Railway Manager, Katihar division, Arun Kumar Sharma.
All the 14 stations of the DHR will retain the old-world charm
"The first station to get a revamp is at Sukna and the outcome is quite satisfying. The station looks quite pretty with new signage and display boards. We have decided to give other stations also the same look," Sharma informed.
All the 14 stations of the DHR still retain the old-world charm with cottage-style structures and tin roofs, wooden chairs for the passengers and small flower gardens fenced with wooden railings which usually have the model of a toy train on display.
"Tourists come to experience all that is antique and the old-world ambiance of the hill railway that comprises engines, coaches and stations. Tourists like to halt at stations, sit on wooden chairs and take pictures of the cottage-styled structures as much as they want to enjoy the beautiful scenery along the route," said a DHR official.
Indian Railways in recognition of its social, cultural, economic and industrial value as a lifeline of India, made an application to UNESCO for World Heritage Inscription of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) in 1998. UNESCO's World Heritage Committee inscribed DHR as a World Heritage Site on December 5, 1999.