Here are extracts showing the timetable of the Calcutta-Siliguri route in 1944:
As you can see, the border line crossed the tracks between Chilhati and Haldibari stations.
Recent pictures of these stations:
Further south, the Radcliffe line crossed the tracks between Banpur and Darsana. Later Gede station was built closer to the border. (Similarly Petrapol station was built close to the border).
As we well know, the Maitri Express and some goods trains cross the Gede-Darsana border. Probably the Haldibari-Chilhati border will be used for goods trains only. In case you are wondering, there have been many attempts by Indian governments over the years to get Bangladesh to allow transit for Indian road vehicles and trains to cross Bangladesh to reach North Bengal and the Northeast. They do not seem to like the idea. In fact, tourist visas issued to Indians invariably mention that you must enter and leave from the same point if traveling by land e.g. if you enter at Benapole you have to leave at Benapole.
The US and Western countries do not have such restrictions on the entry and exit points. It is understood that the Bangladesh government has made these restrictions as it does not want visitors to use their country as a means of traveling from one part of India to another.
Anyway, there are some interesting stories connected with the Haldibari-Siliguri section, which I will take up next.
2 thoughts on “Reviving the Darjeeling Mail route?”
Assam and Bengal did not have seamless rail connectivity those days in spite of having Tea as one of the major commercial earners!
Not quite. In pre-partition days Assam east of Gauhati did export tea via Chittagong. Darjeeling and nearby areas were connected to Calcutta via the Siliguri BG line.
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