Showing posts with label DHR. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DHR. Show all posts

Darjeeling toy train cuts a man into halves near ‪Sonada‬

10:52 PM
Man Mowed Down by Train Near ‪Sonada‬

Reports: Tenzing Sangayla Bhutia

17 June 2016 Darjeeling Sonada: The World famous UNESCO's World Heritage Darjeeling toy train cuts an unidentified man in half and drags one half of the body all the way to Sonada while the other the half of his body was found near 8th Mile 4 km from Sonada.

People in Sonada were in for a shock when the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) also known toy train pulled in tonight. Along with the train came the dead body of a male which was stuck to the lower half of the train.

People would later find that the train had cut the man in half, with half of his body being found near 8th Mile, which is 4 kms away from Sonada town and the other half got pulled along with the train to the station.

The police have cordoned off the train and are currently trying to ascertain who the dead individual is.
Darjeeling toy train cuts a man into halves near ‪Sonada‬

The Railway authorities in collaboration with the pulled out the dead body from underneath the train.
Darjeeling toy train cuts an unidentified man in halves
Darjeeling toy train cuts an unidentified man in halves

Via The DC

Darjeeling Toy train long distance service put on hold

2:47 PM
DARJEELING 13 Jun 2016 The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway toy train service along the 87km route from Darjeeling to New Jalpaiguri station has been temporarily suspended  after three of its diesel engines broke down a few days ago and are presently under repairs.

The DHR has four diesel engines, but three being non-functional, with the latest breakdown happening on June 10, the Darjeeling-New Jalpaiguri long distance service was forced to be suspended. DHR  area manager Narendra Mohan today confirmed that the Darjeeling-NJP service has been put on hold till the diesel engines are repaired.

“Due to technical faults, three of our engines have broken down over the past few months forcing us to halt the 87km service. We hope to resume service from Wednesday but on alternative days, as we can get only one of the three engines repaired. However, we will try our utmost to have all the diesel engines up and running at the earliest,” he said.
Darjeeling Toy train
Darjeeling Toy train
The joy-rides on steam engines from Darjeeling to Ghoom and diesel services from Darjeeling to Kurseong and back are in operation though. Presently, there are about 14 steam engines  and four diesel engines for the DHR toy train.


Darjeeling toy train get glass walls for engine view

9:04 AM
Darjeeling June 8: The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway has replaced the opaque walls at the rear and front ends of two first class coaches with glasses so that travellers can see the more than century-old steam engine pull the train.

Narendra Mohan, the area officer of DHR, said the refit compartments were being used for toy trains running between Darjeeling and Ghoom since May.

He said two more coaches were also being given glasses at either ends and they would be put to use in two weeks.

"Tourists around the world come to Darjeeling to take a ride on the Unesco World Heritage railway. In order to make their ride more enjoyable and fulfilling, we have renovated two first class coaches and added glass windows at the rear and front ends. Prior to this, the coaches had opaque walls and the passengers in each of them could not see what was happening in the other coaches. But now they can easily do so," said Mohan.
The DHR compartments with glasses at the rear and front ends - file photo
The new feature has been introduced mainly to enable travellers to see how the steam engine functions. "They will now be able to see the driver operating the engine and the fireman feeding coal into the furnace," said Mohan.

"Earlier passengers could see these sights only when the train negotiated a bend. But now, they can see it anytime without having to leave their seats and rush to the windows. These coaches will be exclusively used in steam-driven joy rides between Darjeeling and Ghoom. Apart from the view in front, the tourists will also get to see the scenery behind through the glass," he added.

The coaches were renovated at Tindharia workshop - the locomotive and carriage workshop of the toy train - and the Siliguri loco shed.

While two of the coaches have already been put into use since the beginning of May, the remaining two will be in service within next fortnight.

The DHR official said the size of side glass windows of the four coaches had been made bigger so that tourists got a full view of the sceneries.


Darjeeling toy train resumes its daily train service between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling

9:48 AM
Siliguri, May 23: The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway will resume its daily train service between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling next week, more than five months after it had been rescheduled to thrice a week because of lack of diesel engines.

Narendra Mohan, the area officer of the DHR, said daily services between NJP and Darjeeling halted in January when one of the four diesel engines had developed problems.

"We had to run the services on alternate days, instead of everyday, because one of the diesel engines had developed a snag and was sent for repairs. We were short of engines and we had to reduce the number of trips on the route. Since January, we have been operating the trains on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays," Mohan said.

"But the engine has been restored and is back with the DHR. We will conduct trial runs to see if it is functioning properly and will commence regular services from NJP to Darjeeling by next week," he said.

Additional coaches have been attached to toy trains on the Darjeeling-Ghoom route since May 19 to cater to tourists.

"Normally, there are two first-class coaches but now there are four. The footfall of tourists has increased in the past one week. Two coaches were not enough," Mohan said. "We are planning to keep the additional coaches till June."

The four coaches can ferry around 120 passengers and the cost is Rs 630 per person.

UNESCO to Survey ‪‎Darjeeling‬ Himalayan Railway Next Month

7:43 AM
Writes: Mrinalini Sharma

A six-member Unesco team will visit the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway for five days next month to conduct a survey of the World Heritage Site.

The visit is part of formulating# a Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan - a blue print on conservation, management and sustainable development of toy train.

Officials of the DHR said the team would be here from April 9 to 13 and visit different stations of the hill railway.

"A team of Unesco experts will visit the DHR for five days from April 9 to 13. We have been informed that this is a visit before work on formulating the CCMP begins. The team will visit all stations of the hill railway, including Tindharia workshop," said Narendra Mohan, the area officer of the DHR.

"This will be a field survey of the DHR to understand the landscape on which the heritage railway is, various components of the DHR and other important details about its conservation and management. The team will have three officials from the Unesco's New Delhi office and three Unesco experts from different countries. The preparation of the CCMP will take at least two years," he added.
Darjeeling‬ Himalayan Railway
Darjeeling‬ Himalayan Railway
The CCMP is mandatory for all Unesco World Heritage properties.

The master plan for the DHR will be formulated by the Unesco experts in collaboration with the Indian Railways that would provide the funds.

Unesco has said the plan should cover all aspects like institutional, legal and economic and ensure that the "Outstanding Universal Value" should be protected.

Paul Whittle, the vice-chairman of UK-based Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Society (DHRS), wrote an e-mail to The Telegraph about the visit.

"It is great news that work is about to start on this long-awaited DHR Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan, funded by Indian Railways and led by a UNESCO appointed panel of experts. This initial visit is the essential first step in a lengthy and wide-ranging study that will form the basis of a robust and lasting plan for the conservation and sensitive development of this World Heritage railway," he wrote.

"We know that UNESCO will be seeking input and recommendations from a wide body of local organizations and other bodies. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Society will certainly be contributing to UNESCO's work," the e-mail read.

Established in 1881, the DHR was accorded the Unesco World Heritage status in 1999.

It is the second railway in the world to be given a heritage status after the Semmering Railway in Austria in 1998.


Darjeeling toy rtain to add extra coaches for Christmas-New Year season

8:20 AM
Siliguri, Dec. 22: The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway will add one extra coach to each of the three diesel-run toy trains for the joy rides to accommodate tourists who flock to the hills during the Christmas-New Year season.

The additional compartments on the Darjeeling-Ghoom-Darjeeling route would be introduced from December 25.

Narendra Mohan, the area officer of the DHR, said the decision to add the coaches was taken because there had been an increase of around 10 per cent in online reservations for the joy rides since the holiday season began this time.

"We have noticed that the online reservations for the DHR joy rides have risen to around 80 per cent in the past two-three days, which is around 10 per cent more compared to the previous years. So, we have decided to add an extra coach for all diesel-driven joy rides to accommodate more tourists," said Mohan.
Darjeeling toy rtain to add extra coaches for Christmas-New Year season
A diesel-driven toy train in the Darjeeling hills. File picture
Currently, the DHR offers seven joy rides, including a steam-run Red Panda that plies between Kurseong and Darjeeling.

The six other joy rides are between Darjeeling and Ghoom.

Three trains on the route are diesel-driven and the three others run on steam.

"The reason for attaching additional coaches to the diesel-driven trains is that they (the engines) can haul up to four coaches. The steam-driven engines can pull only two compartments. We will run the extra coaches till the reservations come back to normal," Mohan said.

DHR sources said a first-class coach has 28 seats and by adding the extra coaches, 84 more passengers can be accommodated for the joy rides daily.

On December 2, the DHR had resumed the toy train service between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling. The route had been shut since June 2010 because of a landslide at Paglajhora.

While one train travels from NJP to Darjeeling, another one runs from Darjeeling to NJP everyday.

"The occupancy has been fairly good in the past three weeks. In fact, in the past three days, the train that travels uphill from NJP to Darjeeling had full occupancy," Mohan said.

Source: Telegraph

Week long Darjeeling Cultural and Tourism Festival 2015

8:47 AM

Tourist in the second day of the ongoing week long Darjeeling Cultural and Tourism Festival (DCTF) did what they had only watched actors do in cinemas and wished. The festival organizers gave enthusiastic tourists a thrilling opportunity, to dance on the moving Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR), a first for many of them.

And willing tourists did not let go of the opportunity as some of them climbed aboard the open coach of the toy train and showed their moves. “Fifteen years back I had taken my last ride on the toy train. But, today it was an amazing and different experience, to dance on one of them with people on the streets looking at us. I felt like a movies star,” said an elated Prashant Divedhi from Kolkata.

Burdawan resident Animika Bhowkick did not dance but the ride from Darjeeling to Ghoom and back was a memorable one for her. “I am not much of a dancer so I refrained from joining the others. However, it was just as much a scintillating experience to be a part of the road show. I thank the organizers and wish them well for future, too,” she said.

The DCTF that is organized by the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) has become an annual affair in the Hills. It is organized every year this month in November with the objective to attract tourists to the Hill station.

This year the festival is being held from November 1 to 7 in Darjeeling sub-division. Similar events will also be organized in the other sub-divisions of Kurseong, Kalimpong and Mirik, till November 8.

The cultural dance (on different Nepali songs) on the moving DHR train however will only be held for three days from today. Performers from the GTA’s information and cultural department will perform every morning for three days on the 10.40 am diesel run train from Darjeeling to Ghoom and back with a break at the Batasia War Memorial. Bhanu Kanta Ghisingh, the GTA information and cultural department assistant director said, “The idea behind having dancers from the department on the moving train is to bring to highlight and promote our cultural. Tourists can even participate with our dancing troupe, which we believe will give them a trilling experience”.

Not only tourists but the performers too were elated with the opportunity to dance on the heritage train. “I have been dancing for thirteen years but this is the first time on a moving train. This experience I will keep till my last days. Of course, dancing on moving train is never easy but I managed it all the same,” said Ram Limboo, one of the male dancers.

The festival will showcase the various culture and traditions of the Hills communities. Stalls have been put up at the Gorkha Ranga Manch Bhawan dishing our traditional delicacies and in the evening local bands will entertain tourist and locals alike for the next six days.

Source EOI

100 years of Tindharia workshop - DHR, Darjeeling Himalayan Railway

12:37 PM
1915-2015: 100 years of Tindharia Works, A UNESCO World Heritage Area
Article by: DHR Sano Rail

This year celebrates 100 years of Tindharia Works. It has always been considered a location relatively safe from landslips but this was to change in 2011.

The only background information I have of Tindharia is to be found in the late Terry Martin’s books ‘Halfway to Heaven’ and ‘Iron Sherpa’ - although I remember conversations with some local residents of the area over the past 20 years,
100 years of Tindharia workshop - DHR, Darjeeling Himalayan Railway

Until the early 19th Century, the Darjeeling Hills were heavily forested and largely unpopulated apart from the indigenous Lepcha people. I am not certain as to exactly where the area which is now Tindharia lay in relation to the borders of the kingdoms of Bhutan, Nepal and Sikkim before the British Raj purchased land around Darjeeling and Kurseong from Sikkim as sanatoriums and summer resorts.

The first roads into the area, to link Siliguri and Darjeeling, were the Pankabari Road up to Kurseong and then the Military Road across to Darjeeling. However, these were steep mountain tracks suitable only for pack horses rather than wheeled carts. The Hill Cart Road (now NH55 Tensing Norgay Road) was built around 1861 with a steady gradient up which two bullocks could haul a cart. It was largely along this formation that the DHR was constructed in 1879 - 81 to reduce the almost prohibitive cost of taking supplies up to Darjeeling and bringing down the products of the rapidly developing tea industry.

Tindharia was built as a ‘railway town’ by the DHR around its mechanical headquarters. It is said that the location, which is logistically illogical for a workshop, was chosen for being the lowest point in the Darjeeling Hills, on the DHR, where the British employees could work year round. It should be remembered that, at that time, Siliguri was just a very small settlement around the railway junction between the North Bengal Railway from Calcutta (through what is now Bangladesh) and the DHR up to Darjeeling and considered to be a most unhealthy location to spend any time.

The current workshop complex at Tindharia was not built until 1913 - 15. From 1881 until then, it is assumed that the large locomotive shed there, with the godowns around it, was also used as the workshops for major locomotive and rolling stock repairs. This would make sense as the Chief Mechanical Engineer’s bungalow and the Mechanical Department offices were adjacent to it. The original bungalow was a single storey wooden structure with a veranda, similar to many of the Tea Planters bungalows of the period, but was replaced in the mid 1940s with the current two-storey building in the then fashionable Indian interpretation of Art Deco style - which can also be seen at Darjeeling Station. The office building was destroyed during the political disturbances of the mid 1980s - although the remains still exist.

The first railway colonies were built around Tindharia station and the Locomotive Shed and include the bazaar area. Later ones were constructed further down the hill nearer to the new Workshops. I don’t know if it still exists, but the only street map I have seen of Tindharia was (2004) framed in the electric generating plant in the Workshops and also had the power lines into the town marked on it.
The opening of the new Workshops (which are just about to celebrate their centenary) coincided with the major expansion of the DHR system with new lines from Siliguri to Kishanganj (connecting with the metre gauge line to Katihar) and up the Teesta Valley (to develop international trading with Tibet at Kalimpong). Other developments at this time included the hospital at Tindharia, new headquarters offices for the DHR at Kurseong (adjacent to the station), the DHR Club at Kurseong (now All India Radio) and a new railway colony at Kurseong, which incorporating the railway officers’ residences above what is now the Tourist Lodge.

Until the DHR company sold out to Indian Railways in 1947, the method of working the line was very different to that of today. Not only were the now extinct freight facilities considerably larger (and more profitable) than the passenger services but all train operation was based at Tindharia. Therefore Tindharia was home not only to the workshop overhaul staff but to most of the routine maintenance staff, loco drivers, firemen, sanders, guards, jamader / brakesmen etc. Locomotives and their crews all started from Tindharia and worked on a cycle of diagrams which might involve spending one or more nights away from home at Darjeeling or Kurseong or Siliguri. One retired driver told me that at the height of the spring tea season, he had to make four round trips between Tindharia and Sukna each day to clear the loaded wagons off the Hills as fast as possible for a larger loco to assemble longer trains onwards to Siliguri and transhipment onto the Broad Gauge for Calcutta.

In its last year as a private company, the DHR employed at Tindharia:
• 1 Chief Mechanical Engineer
o 1 Chief Clerk
8 Clerks
1 Steno typist
1 Tracer
3 Menials
o 1 Loco Officer
1 Coal Inspector
3 Coal Clerks
30 Drivers
31 Firemen
200 Jamaders and Brakesmen
45 Jackmen and Loco Cleaners
1 Shed Clerk
2 Running Clerks
2 Callmen
o 1 Store Keeper
1 Head Clerk
7 Clerks
9 Menials
o 1 Workshop Foreman
1 Assistant Chargeman
2 Shop Clerks
2 Peons
2 Timekeepers
5 Chowkidars
88 Fitters
27 Drillers and Turners
12 Boilermakers
50 Riveters
16 Blacksmiths
14 Strikers
23 Carpenters
4 Coppersmiths
4 Tailors
16 Painters
11 Moulders
28 Khalasis
1 Tindal
1 Sweeper
• 1 Medical Officer (at Kurseong)
o 2 Assistant Medical Officers
1 Compounder
1 Nurse
1 Dresser
2 Menials
• 1 Commercial Inspector
o 2 Station Masters (including relief)
o 2 Assistant Station Masters (including relief)
12 Guards
2 Travelling Ticket Examiners
• 683 Total

This list does not include Civil Engineering and Permanent Way staff nor other Commercial passenger or freight staff based at Tindharia (as the inventory does not split the location of these establishments).

The Mechanical Engineering Department did not function as separate Open Line and Workshop divisions - only maintenance (all types) and train crews.

Although all the above employees were based at Tindharia, some of their work-output was actually for the DHR extension lines from Siliguria to Teesta Valley or Kishanganj, not the DHR main line to Darjeeling.

It is probable that the above establishment levels were much higher than those in the 1930s since the DHR had only just started reducing its operations after World War II - when road traffic was restricted, many special trains were run for the Army (both rest leave and medical convalescence in the Hills) and Tindharia Workshops was undertaking production of many Broad Gauge railway components to allow other railway workshops in India to increase output of military hardware.

Today, Tindharia is best described as a ‘ghost town’; a shadow of its former self. The DHR no longer runs services to Teesta Valley and Kishanganj or freight trains and the remaining passenger services are now based at Darjeeling and Siliguri. Only a much-reduced establishment at the Workshops, the last in India to give heavy repairs to steam locomotives and wooden bodied coaches, remains to give local employment. Even the passing trade of cars, taxis and buses up the Hill Cart Road requiring refreshments has ceased because of landslips either side of the town in 2010 - 12 and again recently.

It is hoped that the soon-to-commence UNESCO Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan (CCMP) for the DHR will recognise that all the non-railway, environmental, social and cultural criteria of the World Heritage Site listing (as well as the obvious railway elements) are summarised in the railway town of Tindharia and that a sub-plan can be developed to give the area a sustainable future and hope.
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