A JOURNEY ON
THE FAMOUS DARJEELING HIMALAYAN RAILWAY, NOW A UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE
The Darjeeling Himalayan, Asia's best-known steam railway, was founded
in the 19th century and now steams into the 21st with its original locomotives.
It is frequently blocked by landslips and has been threatened by withdrawal
of subsidies, but its future is assured now that UNESCO has declared
it a World Heritage Site. This varied and affectionate portrait of the
line starts on the edge of the hot dusty Bengal Plains. The picturesque
'toy trains' toil up through lowland forest, round dramatic spirals,
see-sawing through numerous switchbacks and ploughing through village
markets before reaching the cool climate of Darjeeling, dubbed 'Queen
of The Hill Stations' in the days of the British Raj.
Stars of the show are the charming little
Sharp Stewart locomotives designed in the 1880s and still going strong.