Darjeeling ‘Toy Train’ To Get Air-Conditioned Railway CoachesDarjeeling Mountain Railway (A M Hurell)

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) that connects New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling in Gorkhaland, West Bengal may soon sport air-conditioned (AC) coaches, reports Financial Express. The DHR, along with the Nilgiri Mountain Railway in western Tamil Nadu, the Kalka-Shimla Railway in Haryana and Himachal Pradesh and the Matheran Hill Railway in western Maharashtra are the only mountain railway lines in India with the former three having been declared world heritage sites by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNSECO).

Trial runs for the air-conditioned coaches were concluded recently and the AC coaches will ply between Siliguri Town and Kurseong. Northeast Frontier Railways (NFR) – which operates the line – has spent Rs 23 lakh per coach to retrofit them with air-conditioning units and their maintenance will be carried out at the Tindharia workshop below the Tindharia railway station. The workshop last year celebrated the centenary of its founding.

Built between 1879 and 1881, the 88km-long line features six zig-zags and five loops throughout its length. Its highest point – 2,258m above mean sea level – is at Ghum, six km south of Darjeeling town.

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