The DHR toy train
Siliguri, Nov. 25: A group of Australia-based enthusiasts of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway has contributed Rs 11 lakh for upgrading and preserving steam locos, carriages and the toy train museum and other rolling stock.
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Supporters’ Association in Melbourne, Australia, has requested that the funds should be spent on the preservation projects especially for the B-class steam locos, carriages, the toy train museum and other vintage items, said Paul Whittle, vice-chairman of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Society, in an email.
Whittle said: “The fund donated to the DHRS – the UK-based association of toy train lovers – by the DHRSA is little over than Rs 11 lakh and will be spent on the heritage railway at the discretion of the DHRS. It (the fund) was provided to us in early August this year. The DHRSA members have requested that the money should be utilized in certain areas of the DHR that they have specified.”
According to Whittle, the Australia-based association was formed in early 1999 by Ken Walker, who had been a regular visitor to the Darjeeling hills in the mid 90s. “Walker was fascinated by the narrow gauge railway and wanted to help reinstate it back to its original condition. He was able to garner support for the hill railway back in his country (Australia) that culminated in the formation of the DHRSA,” Whittle said.
He added: “The DHRSA was active for almost a decade and used to organise tours to the DHR.”
The DHRSA used to raise funds to help preservation and maintenance of the railway, Whittle said. The association ceased its activities in 2006, the vice-chairman said.
Whittle, who had visited Darjeeling last week, held meetings with the DHR authorities and Unesco representatives in Kurseong to discuss how the money should be spent. “The money will be channelled to the DHR through the DHRS…. We have discussed some areas of the DHR where the funds can be used,” he said.
The DHR was established in 1881 and accorded the Unesco World Heritage status in December 1999.
[Via: The Telegraph]
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