Photos: The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway was the first, and is still the most outstanding, example of a hill passenger railway. Opened in 1881, its design applies bold and ingenious engineering solutions to the problem of establishing an effective rail link across a mountainous terrain of great beauty. A look at this World Heritage Site recognized by the UNESCO through pictures.

UPDATED ON JUN 30, 2019 06:26 PM IST 9 Photos
1 / 9
A Darjeeling Himalayan Railway steam train passes by a market in Ghum, West Bengal. The Ghum Station is the highest point reached by the railway (7,407ft), and from here there is a descent for four miles down a spur to Darjeeling Station (6,812ft). The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) was the first, and is still the most outstanding, example of a hill passenger railway. (Ranita Roy / REUTERS)

A Darjeeling Himalayan Railway steam train passes by a market in Ghum, West Bengal. The Ghum Station is the highest point reached by the railway (7,407ft), and from here there is a descent for four miles down a spur to Darjeeling Station (6,812ft). The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) was the first, and is still the most outstanding, example of a hill passenger railway. (Ranita Roy / REUTERS)

UPDATED ON JUN 30, 2019 06:26 PM IST
2 / 9
A DHR train passes by Dali monastry in Darjeeling. In 1858, Eastern Bengal Railway (EBR) got concession for construction and management of railway lines from the left bank of Hooghly towards the Eastern and Northern Bengal. But eventually Franklin Prestage, an agent of the EBR fascinated by the ethereal views of Kanchenjunga floating in the mists of Darjeeling, took up the agent ship of EBR. They settled for a 2ft. rail gauge and formed the Darjeeling Steam Tramway Co. (Ranita Roy / REUTERS)

A DHR train passes by Dali monastry in Darjeeling. In 1858, Eastern Bengal Railway (EBR) got concession for construction and management of railway lines from the left bank of Hooghly towards the Eastern and Northern Bengal. But eventually Franklin Prestage, an agent of the EBR fascinated by the ethereal views of Kanchenjunga floating in the mists of Darjeeling, took up the agent ship of EBR. They settled for a 2ft. rail gauge and formed the Darjeeling Steam Tramway Co. (Ranita Roy / REUTERS)

UPDATED ON JUN 30, 2019 06:26 PM IST
3 / 9
On September 15, 1881, title of the company was changed to Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Co. and this company remained effective until the line was taken over by the Indian Government on October 20, 1948. The DHR connects New Jalpaiguri with Darjeeling, passing through Ghoom. The innovative design includes six zigzag reverses and three loops with a ruling gradient of 1:31. In 1998, The Government of India made an application to UNESCO to consider the DHR as a World Heritage Site. (Ranita Roy / REUTERS)

On September 15, 1881, title of the company was changed to Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Co. and this company remained effective until the line was taken over by the Indian Government on October 20, 1948. The DHR connects New Jalpaiguri with Darjeeling, passing through Ghoom. The innovative design includes six zigzag reverses and three loops with a ruling gradient of 1:31. In 1998, The Government of India made an application to UNESCO to consider the DHR as a World Heritage Site. (Ranita Roy / REUTERS)

UPDATED ON JUN 30, 2019 06:26 PM IST
4 / 9
Train driver Hari Chettri sits in the engine of DHR steam train. The World Heritage Committee of UNESCO, at its 23rd session held at Marrakesh in Morocco on 5th December 1999, decided to inscribe DHR on its World Heritage Site list.”An outstanding example of the influence of an innovative transportation system on the social and economic development of a multi-cultural region, which was to serve as a model for similar developments in many parts of the World”, said UNESCO. (Ranita Roy / REUTERS)

Train driver Hari Chettri sits in the engine of DHR steam train. The World Heritage Committee of UNESCO, at its 23rd session held at Marrakesh in Morocco on 5th December 1999, decided to inscribe DHR on its World Heritage Site list.”An outstanding example of the influence of an innovative transportation system on the social and economic development of a multi-cultural region, which was to serve as a model for similar developments in many parts of the World”, said UNESCO. (Ranita Roy / REUTERS)

UPDATED ON JUN 30, 2019 06:26 PM IST
5 / 9
The property rights of the DHR are currently with the Railway Ministry of the Indian Government. The functional integrity preserved though the lines have been systematically repaired and maintained. DHR is emblematic of the technical and material efforts of human societies of this period to disenclave mountain populations through the railway. It is used in a spirit and for purposes that are the same as those at its inception. (Ranita Roy / REUTERS)

The property rights of the DHR are currently with the Railway Ministry of the Indian Government. The functional integrity preserved though the lines have been systematically repaired and maintained. DHR is emblematic of the technical and material efforts of human societies of this period to disenclave mountain populations through the railway. It is used in a spirit and for purposes that are the same as those at its inception. (Ranita Roy / REUTERS)

UPDATED ON JUN 30, 2019 06:26 PM IST
6 / 9
On April 2018, for the very first time, DHR got fully air conditioned coaches. Further railway related structures have been restored and maintained in their original form. Though new rolling stock and engines have been introduced, the remaining original ones have also been maintained. This includes the famous B-class steam engines of the DHR. Original 4-wheeled carriages and bogie-type carriages are still in use. (Ranita Roy / REUTERS)

On April 2018, for the very first time, DHR got fully air conditioned coaches. Further railway related structures have been restored and maintained in their original form. Though new rolling stock and engines have been introduced, the remaining original ones have also been maintained. This includes the famous B-class steam engines of the DHR. Original 4-wheeled carriages and bogie-type carriages are still in use. (Ranita Roy / REUTERS)

UPDATED ON JUN 30, 2019 06:26 PM IST
7 / 9
By the 1990s, DHR was in poor condition and Indian Railways tried to close it. A number of local people, led by Sherab Tenduf-la of Darjeeling, petitioned Indian Railways to keep DHR open and develop it as an attraction for tourists. Things progressed by the time it was given the World Heritage Site recognition by UNESCO. (Ranita Roy / REUTERS)

By the 1990s, DHR was in poor condition and Indian Railways tried to close it. A number of local people, led by Sherab Tenduf-la of Darjeeling, petitioned Indian Railways to keep DHR open and develop it as an attraction for tourists. Things progressed by the time it was given the World Heritage Site recognition by UNESCO. (Ranita Roy / REUTERS)

UPDATED ON JUN 30, 2019 06:26 PM IST
8 / 9
Vendors sell candy floss to passengers on DHR steam trains. Traffic has been regular and continuous up to the present day, and it provides the whole range of initial services, particularly for passengers and tourists. The main threats to the DHR are the climatic and geological risks, which however have always formed part of the everyday operation of the railways. (Ranita Roy / REUTERS)

Vendors sell candy floss to passengers on DHR steam trains. Traffic has been regular and continuous up to the present day, and it provides the whole range of initial services, particularly for passengers and tourists. The main threats to the DHR are the climatic and geological risks, which however have always formed part of the everyday operation of the railways. (Ranita Roy / REUTERS)

UPDATED ON JUN 30, 2019 06:26 PM IST
9 / 9
A boy looks out of a DHR train. It is polpularly known by the name ‘Toy Train’ whis is in fact never an official term it is just a popular expression found in literature. Like tea and the Ghurka culture, the DHR has become an essential feature of the landscape and an enduring part of Darjeeling’s identity. (Ranita Roy / REUTERS)

A boy looks out of a DHR train. It is polpularly known by the name ‘Toy Train’ whis is in fact never an official term it is just a popular expression found in literature. Like tea and the Ghurka culture, the DHR has become an essential feature of the landscape and an enduring part of Darjeeling’s identity. (Ranita Roy / REUTERS)

UPDATED ON JUN 30, 2019 06:26 PM IST
SHARE
Story Saved