Darjeeling gets two diesel engine toy train from Maharashtra

Darjeeling diesel engine toy train near Sonada Monastry
Two toy train diesel engines reached Siliguri today from Maharashtra and they will be put into service from September 15 along with the existing steam locos to operate the famed Darjeeling Himalayan Railway.

The two diesel engines - NDM600 and NDM603 - were hauled to the Siliguri Narrow Gauge shed all the way from Neral-Matheran, Maharashtra and will strengthen the DHR's existing fleet of four diesel engines. DHR area officer Narendra Mohan said, “We will now be able to provide regular services without hassle as we have six diesel engines. Tour operators and other  institutions will be able to charter the diesel trains."
Earlier, the DHR had said it would introduce additional joy rides, dining coaches and chartered evening services on the toy train for tourists visiting the hills during the Pujas. “We will first inspect the engines that arrived today from Maharashtra and also conduct trial runs to see if everything is okay. Only then will we press the engines into operation, most likely from September 15 onwards,” Mohan said.
Foremost, the DHR plans to introduce three new round-trip rides on the steam engine from Darjeeling to Ghoom. Coaches have already been freshly painted and renovated for the upcoming season.
Similarly, to and fro evening chartered trains on steam engines will also be pressed into service from Darjeeling to Ghoom. On the same route, trains will have dining coaches to pamper tourists. The Jungle Safari from Siliguri to Rongtong, a round trip with stoppage at Sukna station, will also be introduced.
Coaches have been improved and upgraded, seats re-structured and bigger window panes installed for better viewing, among the many changes introduced by the DHR to make the toy train visitor friendly.
“With the addition of two more engines, we hope to give tourists better service. Many a time we could not provide tickets to visitors and disappoint them. Our endeavour is to provide satisfaction to the tourists who spend a lot of money to come to Darjeeling and experience the toy train ride. That is why we are now focusing on providing better amenities, regular services, improving the coaches and seats,” said Mohan.
At present, the DHR has 13 steam engines (including the famous B class) in addition to the six diesel engines for pulling 62 coaches. Some of the coaches date way back to the 1930s The DHR is hopeful of  a bumper season going by the previous financial year's footfalls. According to official records, tourist inflow last year stood at 1 lakh visitors. The DHR is targeting 2 lakh visitors this year. (EOIC)

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