The Toy Train

A few months ago I knew nothing. Now I feel I am somewhat of an expert.

My ignorance was cured by Son who went off to India. Unlike normal people, he mainly wanted to go on trains. The weirder the better. I mean, the lovelier and more interesting…

Kurseong Station

So he and Dodo travelled on the further away part of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway from Kurseong to Darjeeling. Apparently there has been a landslip cutting the railway into two.

I learned a bit from Son who kept us informed via facebook. Obviously. There were photos. And because I get easily carried away I went and got the Resident IT Consultant a DVD for his birthday, which we have now watched, ‘travelling’ the length of the line, pre-landslip.

DHR locomotive 782 at Darjeeling

It has loops, including an agony loop, and it has six reverses. The engines (at least the steam ones) have sandmen sitting at the front, sprinkling sand whenever necessary. It takes something like eight hours to travel the 55 miles. (I was surprised to find Son’s part trip lasted three hours, for what on the map seemed to be a fairly short journey.)

The DVD showed us the lovely Victor, Queen of the Himalayas, pulling for all she was worth. I was relieved to find Victor is a girl, or the title of Queen would have been embarrassing. Victor is a steam locomotive. So is Tusker, who was feeling a little unwell, but still pulled valiantly after a six-hour repair on the platform. (Maybe Virgin should learn to perform surgery from the platform?)

DHR train at Darjeeling

Very impressed by the engineering shed lady working wearing a sari. Perhaps all this nerdiness on my part comes from grandfather-of-witch who worked on the railways? He did lose a foot, but was probably responsible for a lifetime of me loving train travel. We have a railway line at the bottom of the garden, which just might have been the reason Son’s first word was train. In Swedish, naturally, and not very well enunciated, but train it still was.

Were it not for the snakes (the tigers are dead and the elephants are behind a fence) and how far away it all is, I’d be off for a train trip or two myself. But we’ll always have the DVD. And the tea. First Flush Moonbeam.

Himalaya

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