Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR), a UN World Heritage Site since 1999, has been hit hard by the 6.8 magnitude earthquake that left a trail of destruction in Sikkim.
“Quake-induced landslides have blocked the heritage railway track at many places. Our men are on the job but it will take at least three days to resume train services on the narrow gauge track,” Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) spokesperson Situ Sing Hajong said here on Monday. “By Thursday, we expect to run trains between Darjeeling and Ghoom (the second last station before trains terminate at Darjeeling).
DHR comes under the NFR headquartered at Maligaon here. Built between 1879 and 1881, the 86 km long narrow gauge track from New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling rises from 100m above sea level to 2,200m.
Hajong added the NFR has also restricted train speed in western Assam and northern West Bengal suspecting damage to railway tracks. Speed has been restricted to less than 30 km on three bridges where the impact of the earthquake is yet to be assessed. These bridges are located between Salakati-Basugaon, Siliguri-Bagdogra and New Mal-Chalsa stations.