Railways halt Hill Queen journey on NFR

Hailakandi: The Queen that once offered one of the most beautiful views of the hills to tourists is now languishing on her tracks.

The Northeast Frontier Railway has no immediate plans to start the Hill Queen Express train that used to run from the Haflong to Lumding section in Assam.

The train service was discontinued after the conversion of the Silchar-Lumding metre-gauge rail track into broad gauge in November 2015.

Earlier, the Hill Queen Express started from Lower Haflong station and ran upto Lumding Junction, covering a journey of 102km, had three halts on its route, including both source and destination stations.

It was a great attraction for the tourists as it offered a beautiful view of the hills.

The most scenic part of the journey is the ascent from Lumding to Haflong Hill.

After completing a three-day visit to Barak Valley, the divisional railway manager of NF Railways’ Lumding division, Ashis Sharma, said on Monday night that there was a dearth of coaches and they were unable to start the Hill Queen Express.

He admitted that the train was a symbol of the heritage of railways and is a tourist attraction.

He said the various organisations of Dima Hasao district had demanded the resumption of train services for tourists.

The newly constructed broad-gauge line runs about 50 per cent along the old metre gauge alignment.

The 210km track has 79 major bridges, 340 minor bridges and 21 tunnels.

The longest tunnel is 3.235km, while the tallest bridge over the river Doyang is 54 metres.

There are 33 stations in the Silchar-Lumding section.

Sharma said he was interested in beautifying the stations and tunnels in the section from Lumding to Badarpur and Silchar like the Tripura section of the track, with artworks and sketches. He urged artists to come forward.

Sharma also inspected the trains and stations of Barak Valley.

He interacted with all categories of staff and passengers regarding the development of the section.