Those in the older age group would first have heard of Riga in this limerick:
There was a young lady of Riga,
Who smiled when she rode on a tiger.
They came back from the ride
With the lady inside,
And the smile on the face of the tiger.
If your general knowledge was better, you would know that Riga was the capital of the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic, and that Latvia was briefly an independent country which was swallowed by the Soviet Union in the 1940s. It finally became independent in 1991 and now has EU membership, the Euro, Schengen visas and all the other trappings of modernity.
But our story is not about that Riga but the other one closer to home:
While this is the station at the other Riga, which truly befits a nation’s capital:
The Indian Riga is near Sitamarhi in Bihar:
It’s main claim to fame is this company:
The company has its own metre gauge railway line with one saddle-tank steam loco and one diesel shunter (both from the 1930s) which were until recently hard at work hauling sugarcane. Despite its inaccessibility it attracted the attention of foreign steam fans.
Some pictures can be seen here:
Though you may find this 11-minute video more interesting:
This is mainly devoted to the steam loco hauling wagons laden with sugarcane. There is a brief glimpse of a regular diesel-hauled metre gauge passenger train from 7.00 to 7.25.
Time has stood still here for many decades. However, you will look in vain for the lady and the tiger.
UPDATE: The above Youtube clip is from 2005, when Riga station was on the metre gauge line from Darbhanga to Raxaul and thus had freight trains carrying sugarcane. The factory’s trains used to move these freight wagons to the factory. More recently, the section has been converted to broad gauge. While this has enabled a few express trains from Delhi, Kolkata and elsewhere to traverse this route, none of them stop at Riga.It is served only by slow passenger trains: http://erail.in/riga-railway-station
More importantly, freight trains to this station are now broad gauge and thus the wagons cannot be used on the metre gauge line to the factory. So it seems that the two hard-working locos from 1930 and 1935 may now have retired.