New signs for hill rail

The Telegraph

The DHR station at Sukna with new signboards. Picture by Kundan Yolmo

Siliguri, Oct. 29: The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is getting a makeover with the addition of signage in bright colours at all 14 stations of the Unesco heritage site, most of which will be given fresh paint also.

The refurbishment of the hill railway has started with Sukna station, 10km from here, where signboards have been put up in blue and yellow.

The boards show the name of the station, distance to other stations and direction, besides informing passengers about the Unesco world heritage status of the toy train.

“We are putting in all efforts to highlight the DHR as a prime tourism destination. In the process, we have started the revamp of all 14 stations that fall along the 80km route of the hill railway from New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling. The first station to get a revamp is at Sukna and the outcome is quite satisfying. The station looks quite pretty with new signage and display boards. We have decided to give other stations also the same look,” said Arun Kumar Sharma, the divisional railway manager, Katihar division.

The 14 stations of the DHR still retain the old-world charm with cottage-style structures and tin roofs, wooden chairs for the passengers and small flower gardens fenced with wooden railings which usually have the model of a toy train on display.

“Tourists come to experience all that is antique and the old-world ambience of the hill railway that comprises engines, coaches and stations. Tourists like to halt at stations, sit on wooden chairs and take pictures of the cottage-styled structures as much as they want to enjoy the beautiful scenery along the route,” said a DHR official.

“Since the hill railway is 132 years old, refurbishing the stations from time to time is essential so that they do not look worn out. Apart from installing new signboards and signage, we will also give the cottage-styled structures, wooden chairs and railings a fresh coat of paint wherever it is required,” a DHR source said.

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