Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Northeast Frontier Railway zone

The Northeast Frontier Railway abbreviated as N F Railway is one of the 16 railway zones in India. Headquartered in Maligaon, Guwahati in the state of Assam it is responsible for rail operations in the entire Northeast and parts of West Bengal and Bihar. It is divided into 5 divisions:
  • Alipurdaur Railway Division
  • Katihar Railway Division
  • Lumding Railway Division
  • Rangiya Railway Division
  • Tinsukia Railway Division
Each of these divisions is headed by a Divisional Railway Manager, a Senior Administrative Grade officer of the rank of Joint Secretary to Government of India.

Guwahati Railway Station
The departmental setup at headquarter level and divisional setup in the field assists the General Manager in running the railways. Various departments namely engineering, mechanical, electrical, signal & telecom, operations, commercial, safety, accounts, security, personal and medical are headed by a Senior Administrative Grade / Higher Administrative Grade officer, provide technical and operational support to the divisions in train operations.

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) ascends 6,850 feet (2,090 m) from New Jalpaiguri (Siliguri); the climb begins at Sukna, continues uninterruptedly to Ghum (7,407 ft/2,258 m) and descends the final 5 miles (8.0 km) to Darjeeling.
Darjeeling to Ghoom Heritage Narrow Gauge Train

After independence, India's partition resulted in the isolation of the Northeast region. Consequently, the DHR was merged into Assam Railways, it was closed for the construction of the Assam-Bengal link line and one of its extension lines to Kishanganj was converted to metre gauge. DHR's other extension line to Kalimpong got washed away due to floods. On re-opening, the DHR was merged with North Eastern Railway in 1952 and later into Northeast Frontier Railway in 1958.
The DHR achieved worldwide fame for many reasons such as:
  • A gateway to the Himalayas
  • The tiny 4-wheeled steam locomotives of the 19th century
  • The curves, loops, "Z"s and steep grades crisscrossing the road
An interest in DHR all along has ensured that it continues to operate notwithstanding very heavy losses. The steam locomotive is an icon of this Railway. Tindharia workshop has kept 13 locomotives surviving, some of which are over 100 years old and the youngest is about 70 years old.
Timeline of DHR:
  • January 20, 1948: Purchased by the Government of India
  • January 26, 1948: Transferred to Assam Rail Link
  • January 26, 1950: Transferred to Assam Railway
  • January 14, 1952: Transferred to North Eastern Railway
  • January 15, 1958: Transferred to Northeast Frontier Railway

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