All services on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) have been suspended indefinitely since 12 June due to political agitation and unrest in the region – an intensification of the campaign for the area of the Darjeeling Hills to be split off from West Bengal into an independent state in India called Gorkahland.
Local militant protest has led to widespread unrest with several fatalities, arson attacks on government vehicle and buildings, and the deployment of army and other security forces. An indefinite strike has effectively closed Darjeeling for all normal activity and local internet services are currently suspended.
Despite its World Heritage listing the DHR has not been immune to the troubles. The station at Gayabari has been destroyed by arson attacks, and Sonada station and the DHR HQ Elysia building at Kurseong have been badly damaged by fire.
Said Paul Whittle, Vice Chairman DHRS “With no immediate resolution in prospect, there is clearly a threat of more damage to the railway. We are in constant dialogue with Indian Railways and UNESCO as to how the DHR can be safeguarded in the present troubled situation”.
22/08/2017 - Still no improvement in the situation.
New promotional video of the DHR 'The magical train story: Darjeeling Himalayan Railway' https://youtu.be/fP0EomJh2FY by the Australian agency in Sydney who are working with India, Tourism Sydney (part of Incredible India) to increase awareness of/ encourage tourism to India. http://www.aei4eia.com.au/
Late afternoon outside Darjeeling Shed - 805 & 786. Photo by Paul Howard - November 2016.