By the year end, the most prestigious train connecting Kolkata and north Bengal is all set to change route. As said by the GM – eastern railway, the existing route of Darjeeling Mail via Burdwan-Bolpur is too congested. It would reduce the load along the existing route and help people of Murshidabad-Azimgunj because till date people from Murshidabad come to Kolkata to board north Bengal bound trains because there are no trains to north Bengal connecting Murshidabad.
“The Murshidabad-Azimgunj link is expected to be commissioned by the end of December, 2017. There were problems with land acquisition but we have received tremendous help from the state government. Once this happens, we plan to run trains like Darjeeling Mail through Murshidabad.These trains will then pass through Azimgunj towards Malda, from where they will take the existing route to New Jalpaiguri,” Eastern Railway (ER) general manager Ghanshyam Singh told reporters. (Copied from TOI)
“However, that is not the most important thing. The existing route is extremely congested and we want to reduce the load. Secondly, we want people from Murshidabad and surrounding areas to benefit. Now, with no rail connectivity to Malda, they have to travel all the way to Sealdah if they wish to catch a train to north Bengal. Once this route is opened, they can directly travel to north Bengal and the northeastern states. This will also open up an alternate route to north Bengal,” the GM added. (Copied from TOI)
The distance between Sealdah and New Jalpaiguri is around 573 km along the existing route. Once the train takes the new route, the train’s path would be shortened by nearly 21 km. Travel time should come down by at least 30 minutes as said by the GM. The train is supposed to move through Barrackpore, Krishnagore and Murshidabad to Malda instead of crossing the Vivekananda Bridge and passing through Burdwan and Bolpur.
There is nostalgia related to Darjeeling Mail is quite high to the people of Kolkata and Burdwan-Bolpur zone. Most of tourist traveling to Darjeeling or any part of Sikkim or Dooars and frequent travelers to north Bengal prefer Darjeeling mail for an overnight journey from Kolkata to New Jalpaiguri (NJP). The new route of the train has got nothing to do with people from Kolkata but it is time to see how people from Burdwan-Bolpur reacts.