Darjeeling toy train resumes operations after 188 days of service suspension due to Gorkhaland protests
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway resumed its full operations on Friday after 188 days of service suspension due to Gorkhaland agitation
Jalpaiguri (West Bengal): The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR), popularly known as the toy train, resumed its full operations on Friday, chugging its way to the Queen of the Hills from the New Jalpaiguri station, after 188 days of service suspension due to Gorkhaland agitation.
The toy train covered the entire route, spanning 90 kilometre, on Friday but there were barely any passengers, the traffic in-charge of DHR, SK Ghosh, said.
He hoped that in the coming days, the service will pick up pace and make up for the losses it incurred during the Gorkha unrest.
"People are still skeptical about visiting the hill town. Only a few passengers had boarded the train today. I hope the crisis will be over in a few days and the service will make up for the losses it incurred in the past few months," he said.
The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha had called for an indefinite shutdown in the hills in June, demanding a separate state. The bandh that lasted for 104 days was lifted after home minister Rajnath Singh made an appeal to the Bimal-Gurung-led party to end the agitation.
A part of the hill track, between Siliguri and Darjeeling, was made operational on 15 October but the trains could not run the full distance back then as landslides triggered by heavy showers had blocked the route, New Jalpaiguri station manager Tapan Saha said.
The 'toy train' service, which earned UNESCO World Heritage tag in 1999, has always been a big attraction for tourists visiting this eastern hill town.
A Railway Protection Force (RPF) office, a police outpost and a state-run library were set on fire in the Darjeeling hills as the indefinite strike demanding a separate state entered its 30th day
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Normal life remained crippled in the Darjeeling hills due to the indefinite shutdown, called by pro-Gorkhaland activists, which on Friday entered its 44th day
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Amid reports of rifts within the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), its convener Binay Tamang on Tuesday said he has no differences with party supremo Bimal Gurung and the Gorkhaland issue will be the focus of talks with the West Bengal government scheduled to be held on Tuesday.