More Toy Train Rides to be added before Durga Pujas - Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR)

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway will add three more joy rides to the existing service and make available a chartered train with heritage coaches from September.

The DHR also has plans to run chartered goods coaches.

"We are running six trains (on the Darjeeling-Ghoom-Darjeeling route),of which three are pulled by steam engines and the rest by diesel. We will introduce three more trains from September 10," said DHR area officer Narendra Mohan.

The charge for a steam engine train ride is Rs 1,100 per person and a #ride on a diesel train costs Rs 605 per head.

"We will offer chartered evening trains to tour operators. A steam engine will be attached to a FH-15 and a CDR-149 coach. The FH-15 was earlier used for inspection. The CDR-149 coach will have dining car facilities," Mohan said. The FH-15 can carry 11 people, while the CDR-149 can fit 12. Both are heritage coaches.

If one coach is booked, the ride will be between Darjeeling and Kurseong. "It will cost Rs 19,500. If one wants both coaches with a steam engine on the Darjeeling-Ghoom-Darjeeling route, the cost will be about Rs 57,000," Mohan added.

According to him, in 2013-14 fiscal, the DHR revenue was Rs 1.84 crore. "In 2015-16, it rose to Rs 5.45 crore," Mohan said. Passenger traffic also went up from around 60,000 to 1 lakh. "We are expecting 1.5 to 1.7 lakh tourists this year."

He said trial runs for goods coaches would begin in September and steam locos would be used for Jungle Safaris between Siliguri and Rongtong.

By Vivek Chhetri - Telegraph

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