Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, Old Photo 1890
This is an old albumen photo of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway of 1890. To Franklin Prestage, the then agent of the Eastern Bengal Railway Company goes the credit for preparing the scheme and for completing the construction in 1880. The line consists of 82 km of a two feet wide track. Zig-zagging over deep ravines, taking sharp curves and rising over steep inclines.
It reaches a height of 7,000 feet in 65 km. The need for tunnels was circumvented by means of ‘loops’ and ‘reverses’. In the ‘loop’ the railway track circles around and passes over a gradient by a bridge thereby quickly attaining a higher elevation. This is as visible in this photograph. Another method adopted on the route to Darjeeling is reversing or zig-zag movement to gain additional height.
The engine originally employed was very small even for a two-foot track and was only capable of pulling 7 tons. Later replaced by a standard type pulling a load of 32 tons. The train passes through different climatic zones representing striking differences in foliage and a variety of scenic effects not viewed in any other part of the world. Click on the photo for better view.
Did you know- the Darjeeling Himalayan train also called the toy train, is a Unesco heritage site.