India’s railways: Celebrating the country’s narrow-gauge lines

Source:  www.independent.co.uk

The Indian subcontinent is renowned for its railways. Begun during the British Raj under the rule of Governor General Lord Dalhousie, between 1848 and 1856, the Indian rail network is today the world’s third-biggest, carrying more than 20 million people between 6,800 stations every day.

Yet while headline routes such as the Konkan Railway, between Mumbai and Mangalore in the south, continue to draw attention and tourist numbers, there are more idiosyncratic lines that also merit exploration.

Three of the nation’s mountain railways – the Darjeeling Himalayan, the Nilgiri Mountain, and the Kalka-Shimla – are listed as Unesco World Heritage Sites.

They also feature in a new photographic book, India’s Disappearing Railways, that celebrates narrow-gauge lines (despite Lord Dalhousie’s best intentions for the nation to operate on one broad gauge, in true Indian style, four were constructed). Australian photo-journalist Angus McDonald, who died last year, sought to document these routes, which are starting to dwindle but so often offer a snapshot of their location. More info

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