The States of the seven sisters and Sikkim are collectively known as North East. The trains that ply to this region are under the NEFR or North Eastern Frontier Railways. Due to issues such as insurgencies, with up and down terrain and topography as well as the local laws, it is a bit lesser developed railways than other regions. Now with the ‘Look East’ policy to throw light on to the North Eastern states for tourism and development there is improving and increase in rail networks. This is also playing an important role for the region's development.
History of North Eastern Railways
Assam is the first state in the northeast region to get railways. It was a 65 km route from Dibrugaarh and Margherita in the year 1981. It was mainly used for the purpose of transportation of main goods such as tea and coal. However, later these railway lines were extended to 221 kilometers across the mountains with zigzag lines, and 37 tunnels. This was in the district of Dima Hasao which was earlier Cachar Hills. These railway tracks are a great engineering task so far in the north eastern region.
Strange Facts about North East Trains
Easternmost Station of India
The non-functional railways in Lekhapani was the easternmost corner for railways in India. However, the last train was in 1997 after which Ledo is now the easternmost station that is functional, in India.
Smallest Railway lines in India
The NEFR is headquartered in Guwahati, Assam and sub-divided into 6 divisions. It runs at a very low speed of 30 km / hour in several regions and is also a very narrow gauge. Like Northern Railways is the largest Railway Zone in India, the NEFR is the smallest Railways Zone in India.
World's Highest Railway Bridge
Despite being the smallest railways the North East has a girder bridge that will be the highest in the world. However, this will be once the project is completed on Bridge no. 164 on the planned Jiribam to Imphal railway line. Once this is completed there will be a pier height of 141 meters that will make it the highest in the world. As of now, Mala Rijeka Viaduct, Montenegro is the world’s highest railway bridge.
Highest Railway Station in India
In the year 1958, Darjeeling Himalayan Railways got added to the NEFR or North Eastern Frontier Railways. So, there is a station built at an altitude of 2258 meters above sea level called Ghoom Railway Station. This is officially India's highest railway station and is situated near the Batasia Loop, famous for the Darjeeling spiral toy train ride.
Train running via Bangladesh
The train from Kolkatta, WB takes nearly thirty eight hours to reach Agartala. However, if the plan to built a route to cross via Bangladesh can shorten the travel time for this line to just 16 hours. So if at all it happens then it would be Agartala – Akhaura, Bangladesh and people can travel faster to and fro Agartala in short time.
Trains to Arunachal Pradesh
The first train ride of Naharalagun – New Delhi A/C SF Express train was in the year 2012. With this maiden ride Arunachal Pradesh railways also under the NEFR for another important major route for a popular tourist destination Bhaluk Pong with the Dekargaon – Bhalukpong Express in the year 2015. It serves the Western district of Kameng of Arunachal Pradesh. In addition to ferrying tourists to their respective destination, the railway station is an important halting point for Indian Army. The Indo- China border is less than 300 km away.
National Days are Challenging Travel Days
A couple of days before the National Independence Day or the National Republic Day, it is better to avoid traveling on the trains to visit the north east region of India. It is a challenging time for such travelers during these times. For security reasons, some times trains can get diverted or delayed, canceled and even short terminated. So, it is better to avoid a few days before and on the national days to travel to these places especially by trains.
Know More about Palace on Wheels: