The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) decided to cancel a few trains in the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) section due to “insufficient patronisation”, including very less number of passengers, officials said on Sunday.
The Maligaon (Guwahati) headquartered NFR’s decision to cancel these ‘toy train’ services on the 141-year-old mountain railway section came two month after introducing four joyrides during the peak tourist season from October 1.
The DHR has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1999, which is also known across the world for its fascinating journey through the hills of Himalayas in narrow gauge toy trains.
NFR Chief Public Relations Officer Sabyasachi De said that the train services, which would be cancelled, include a pair tri-weekly air-conditioned passenger running between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling and two pairs of diesel-special joyrides running between Darjeeling and Ghum stations.
The CPRO said that Darjeeling-Ghum-Darjeeling special joyrides would remain cancelled from December 6 to 31 and New Jalpaiguri-Darjeeling-New Jalpaiguri tri-weekly AC passenger would remain cancelled from December 17 to February 28.
Each of these joyrides had three first-class chair cars with a total of 30 seats.
Some joyrides introduced on the DHR earlier this year had helped NFR earn Rs 3.20-crore against an expenditure of Rs 2.75-crore in May.
The revenue earned was 54 per cent more than the earlier highest of Rs 2.07 crore recorded in May 2018.
Another senior official of the NFR told IANS that if there is an acceptable demand of these joyrides, trains are likely to be reintroduced in future.
Work on the narrow gauge DHR, which covers 88 km from West Bengal’s New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling, was completed between 1879 and 1881.
The NFR, one among the 17 railway zones in India, operates fully and partially in the northeastern states and in seven districts of West Bengal and five districts of north Bihar.