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Toy Train Back In Darjeeling

By Staff

After facing suspension for 10 days the famous toy train of Darjeeling is back on tracks from February 19. The suspension resulted from the agitations following the demand for a different Gorkha state.

However, now the Darjeeling Himalayan Railways (DHR) is on a roll to attract as many tourists as possible across the globe. The train has also made a place among UNESCO's World Heritage Sites. It runs across various locations including Batasia Loop' (the valley of storm), the tea gardens of the Darjeeling Himalayas, the world's highest rail station "Ghoom" and many other locations covering the forest lands of Terai.

Due to the disturbances in the area caused by the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM), the train has faced several restrictions. It was shut down on February 9. In spite of the agitations in the area, the toy train has managed to bring back the tourists to Dargeeling hills. "It is a very famous train, and very well known train in England. People know about it," said Mark James, a tourist from United Kingdom.

The GJM movement has affected the tourism industry of the region, with 16 charters and eight-winter safaris being canceled last year. The DHR reports project a drop of 28 per cent in volume with mounting losses of rupees two million.

"Last year, I brought 42 people from all over the world. We were unable to run because of the Gorkha strike. One of our people comes back this year. I now know that there was another strike last week. But we better be sure we run for the next two days," said Andrew Nil, the tour conductor from U.K.

The tpy train was started by the then British Lieutenant Governor Ashley Eden in the year 1896, to allow the people to enjoy the scenic beauty of the region. At that time it was called Darjeeling steam Tramway Co. but after independence the name was changed to Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR). It was declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO on December 5 at their 23rd session.

AGENCIES

Read more about: india tourism
Story first published: Thursday, February 26, 2009, 17:50 [IST]
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