KURSEONG, 29 APRIL: To resume toy train services between New Jalpaiguri to Kurseong stations, railway officials have planned to build an alternative railway route via Tindharia where a major landslide had wiped out the railway route.
The service between the two points has remained suspended since 14 June 2010, when a major landslide followed by several ones occurred at 14th Mile, Ghayabari. Things further compounded after another major landslide occurred on 28 September 2011 at Tindharia near the Locomotive Workshop.
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, (DHR) Director, Mr M D Bhutia, said they have already made a blue print for the alternative railway route that would move through the backyard of the Locomotive Workshop at Tindharia. “We are sure the tracks would be laid in a month once the work starts,” he said.
However, he could not specify when the work would begin. “Things are in the process. The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has started repairing the damaged parts of NH-55 and once it is completed we would begin the work of laying down the tracks,” he said.
“The backyard of the damaged workshop would be separated and protective walls would be built before laying down tracks,” he added.
According to the NHAI officials, the road beneath the workshop had been washed away. “The crater is at least 50 metre long. Roads slipped around 500 feet into the ravine, leaving no foundation to start reconstruction on. It is proving immensely difficult,” an NHAI official said.
It is learnt that the road and transport ministry has already sanctioned crores of rupees for reconstruction of the damaged road. Works are going on at several places along the NH-55, yet it is unknown when it would be thrown open again for the normal traffic.
It is also learnt that the Railway ministry has recently sanctioned over Rs 80 crore for restoring the long-suspended DHR services. Yet things remain mired in uncertainty with the people being left to guess.