Attractive facilities being provided to increase tourist footfall
GUWAHATI, June 22: The UNESCO Heritage Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) of NF Railway has marked remarkable earnings in May this financial year 2022-23. The DHR has recorded the highest ever monthly revenue generation of nearly Rs 3.20 crore against the expenditure of Rs 2.75 crore during May, 2022. It was approximately 54% higher than the earlier highest of Rs 2.07 crore in May, 2018-19. Till May, 2022 this financial year, the DHR has earned more than Rs 4.73 crore while the annual expense was at around Rs 4.53 crore during this period. The increased earning was achieved because of the introduction of more joyride services. Huge footfall during this peak season of tourist flow in the section and growth in the passenger traffic led to a rise in the earnings.
Covid pandemic has affected DHR adversely in a big way as well as the whole world. As a result, its revenue took a dip in 2020-21 and 2021-22. The train services on DHR remained suspended from March 22 to December 24 of 2020 and May 16 to August 15 of 2021 and from January 15 to February 15 of 2022.
Presently, there is a daily service between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling and 12 Joy Ride services between Darjeeling and Ghum in the DHR. Among these, four Joy Ride services are pulled by steam locomotives while the other eight with diesel locomotives. The DHR also introduced special services like Steam Jungle Tea Safari, Red Panda, Him Kanya, etc. Charter Trains, Special Film Shooting Trains, Heritage Dining Car are also some attractive services being offered in the DHR. During this period, DHR managed to offer the highest ever daily seats of more than 1000 to meet tourist demand.
Several initiatives have also been taken for the promotion of DHR in the country and abroad. Darjeeling station is being upgraded with new features like heritage type windows, Kanchenjunga view point, etc. Upgradation of Ghum station is also under process. Partnering with stakeholders, tour operators, cultural groups, local population, etc., are being done regularly to preserve its conservation and promote heritage value.