After a long gap due to Covid-19, Darjeeling’s most popular toy train is now all set to be on track and resume services. As per the report, the services will start on August 25, after a long gap of a year.
The toy train is also known as Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR), which came to a halt in the year 2020 in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Railway staff assigned for sanitization
The railway staff is assigned for the sanitization of the compartments of the train. The passengers of the DHR will have to strictly follow all the Covid-19 norms from social distancing to wearing masks, etc.
The story of the toy train in Darjeeling
The story of the Darjeeling toy train came to light in the colonial era. It was built between 1879 and 1881, and the train’s first trip was in 1880. It runs about 100 m above sea level at New Jalpaiguri to about 2,200 m at Darjeeling. On a zig-zag track, the toy train covers a distance of 88 km, said sources.
According to many, the train runs on 100-year-old diesel engines, including age-old compartments. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, aka the toy train of Darjeeling, was also honoured by UNESCO as a ‘World Heritage Site’ in the year 1999.
Statement by Northeast Frontier Railway (NRF)
On Wednesday, the toy trains will be at a service from New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling in West Bengal. The travelers will be provided with 17 seats in the first class and 29 seats in the second class, said a statement by the Northeast Frontier Railway (NRF).
As per the notification provided by Nirmala Sitharaman, the union finance minister, the BJP government also planned to privatize the DHR under the National Monetization Policy (NMP).
For the monetization of infrastructure assets in the train, the centre will provide Rs. 6 lakh crores. The assets will include railway stadiums, colonies, 400 stations, 90 passenger trains, etc.
The decision was taken by observing all the advancements of tourism, infrastructure as well as job opportunities.
Toy train, a feeling of nostalgia
The toy train is famous for being one of the main tourist attractions of Darjeeling. The heritage site provides natural beauty, historical significance, and cultural values.
The journey of the train also provides magnificent views of lush green valleys, tea gardens, bridges, hills, mountain tops which gives a sense of nostalgia to everyone who is traveling on the train.
It also reminds us of the film ‘Aradhana’ where late film star Rajesh Khanna sings the superhit song of all time ‘Mere Sapno Ki Rani’ to the famous Sharmila Tagore on the toy train.