Up the Line to Darjeeling: From the plains of Bengal to the Himalayan foothills (DHRS)

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In 1999 the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Built in the late 19th century and still running today, Up the Line to Darjeeling explores this remarkable hill railway, which still runs a scheduled service hauled by diesel locomotives from New Jalpaiguri up to Darjeeling. Chartered rail tours are hauled by the traditional B-Class saddle tank steam locomotives, which were introduced on the 2 ft gauge railway in 1889. An account is given of the system as it was when it first opened, and then goes on to explain how it has changed over the years, what has survived and what has been destroyed, often in the name of improvement.

Different points on the line, stations, sheds, loops, sidings and other features such as colour light signals, are described in detail. Station track layout diagrams are used to illustrate many of the features, alongside explanations of the different gauge changes and types. The railway is portrayed with relation to the area’s geography, community and local trade.

A diagrammatic chart in the back cover of the book reveals the elevation of the line, which starts at 114 m above sea level and shows the stations along the route, with their height above sea level marked on. The climb to Darjeeling is around 55 miles long and takes the railway up to a height of 2080 m above sea level. A drawing of the route of the railway has been produced in twenty separate sections, which are shown at relevant points throughout the book.

Features around 250, mainly colour, photographs, accompanied by detailed maps and plans. 128 pages.

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