Almost each and every part of India is now connected by train, more so are the major towns in every state. However, there are towns and cities in the North East which does not have this luxury, not as yet!
There are routes which still operate the Meter Gauge (wiki) trains in the north-east and one such route is the Lumding – Silchar route.
This route is one of the many marvels of the british construction that came up during their rule.
The track came up during the late 1800 with the primary purpose of transporting tea from the tea gardens of south Assam to mainland India.
The 247 kms long track which winds through the Dima Hasao district has more than 30 tunnels.
The journey, apart from being very picturesque is unique in many ways. As the train reaches Harengajao station which is the start of the hill section from Silchar, another engine is attached at the back of the 8-9 bogey train, to help it successfully climb the steep ascent.
Even with two engines, the speed of the train is so slow that many adventurous passengers prefer sitting on top of the train instead of sitting inside!
This exact route became history last November when the Railways finally decided to remove the meter-gauge tracks and replace them with broad-gauge as part of the final leg of the gauge-conversion project that has been going on since more than 15 years, much to the relief of the people of the towns and villages this route serves.
This is by far, the most beautiful train journey I have ever had been on. What’s yours?
Photo credits: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee