|Darjeeling Line , Bo Justusson|
|The Darjeeling line climbs up the southern part of the Himalayas, from Siliguri to Darjeeling.
It was built in 1879 to 1881, and still runs with steam engines. It has been given status as UNESCO world heritage.
The monsoon rains have at several times destroyed parts of the line,
and the number of zigzags and loops have varied over time.
An excellent history of this is given in the booklet:
- "Going Loopy", David Barrie and David Charlesworth, 2005, Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Society.
It can be ordered at www.dhrs.org, price £6.95, 34 pp, 50 photos/maps
Length: 88 km, 55 miles.
Climb: 2 164 metre (7 100 feet).
Max elevation: 2 258 m (7 408 ft) at Goom station.
Gauge: 600 mm (2 feet).
Grade: 3-5 per cent, average 4
Min radius: 15 m (59 feet)
Loops: 3 (today!)
Zigzags (reverses): 6 (today!)
Tunnels: 0 (!)
Bridges: 1 large over Mahanuddy river
Map: from Röll(1912).
Larger map image
Detail over Sookna-Gybaree where you can see the positions of the four loops and four zigzags, in 1912!.
Zigzag No 3 just below Tindharia.
This zig-zag photo is one of the best I have seen. An upbound train has passed both switches. The upper switch is in the upper left corner of the image, and the lower switch is in the lower left part. The road is crossed by the middle track section.
A somewhat larger image, 128 kb
Zigzag No 5 just before Gayabari.
Note that the road in the centre of the photo is crossed by the middle section of the switchback. Upbound trains enter below and goes to the first dead end, reverses and goes to the second dead end (switch at the small lodging), and reverses again and continues on its course.
Bulllock trains assisting in the construction of the railway (around 1880).
Literature and sources of images:
- Röll, editor (1912) Encyclopädie des Eisenbahnswesens, Band 3, second edition, Urban und Schwarzenberg, Wien and Berlin.
- Shaw, Frederic (1958). Little Railways of the World , Howell-North Press, Berkely, California.
Some photos are from construction time (Paul Darrell Collection), others are from the 1950:ies. The book contains 20 articles on small steam railroads. Some "real" railroads, but mostly miniature railways in scale 1:3 or similar. It is now available in a reprint from:
- Little River Locomotive Company's Bookstore, USA (search their catalogue!).
- Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Society
Note: Under "A Tour Up the Line" you will find station maps and photos.
- Darjeeling - Toy Train, by Zubin Medora, also has info on Darjeeling region.
- Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, by John Raby , photos from visits 1997, 1998.
- Mike's Railway History - Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, by Michael J. Irlam, old photos
- Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, by S.Gosal
- UNESCO World Heritage - Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
- UNESCO World Heritage List, complete list.
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