New parts maker to keep Darjeeling steam locomotives in operation

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A steam-operated train nears the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway line's summit at Ghum, India, in 2007.
Keith Fender
DARJEELING, India — The Northeast Frontier Railway, which controls the centuries-old Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Heavy Engineering Corporation Limited for redeveloping, manufacturing, and supplying spare parts for its narrow-gauge steam locomotives, the Calcutta Telegraph reported.

“We have inked the memorandum of understanding for five years, which could be extended if needed with consent of both parties. Besides redeveloping the locomotives, HECL will also redevelop the steam boilers that will help the locomotives keep running,” NFR general manager Chahatey Ram told the Telegraph.

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway has 13 steam locomotives, with six that still operate.
Glasgow-based Stauffer, Son and Company built the oldest locomotive in 1899. The newest was built at the Tiruchirappalli (Tamil Nadu)-based Golden Rock Railway Workshop in 2003.

“We have conducted studies of the 41 spare parts in the Tindharia workshop and have recovered drawings of 13 parts. We will send teams to develop the drawings for the rest of the parts and start the work within six months,” said Heavy Engineering chairman and managing director Avijit Ghosh.

The Darjeeling railway started operations in 1881 and was primarily built for freight traffic but has turned into a passenger railroad attracting tourists from across India and the world. The 48-mile stretch from New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling in Bengal, which was later reduced to Siliguri to Darjeeling, became a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1999.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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