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A sweet swansong to narrow gauge line in Silchar

By ARINDAM GUPTA
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SILCHAR, Sept 29 � The denizens of Silchar assembled in a unique swansong journey boarding onto the 15694 Down Barak Valley Express, the passenger train which chugged in for the last time from the Silchar Railway Station on Monday at 9:25am.

The railway station campus saw old-timers and youths alike joining to bid goodbye to the meter gauge train which has been a part of the lives of the people here for past many years. While the members of Nagarik Swartha Raksha Sangram Parishad spoke about the history of the narrow gauge lines and hoped the broad-gauge will soon arrive here, people were seen sharing their experiences of travelling by the trains on these meter gauge lines over the years. The youngsters were upbeat with happiness to bid adieu to the meter gauge services with songs and loud cheer acknowledging its contribution in the lives of the people of this region disturbed by communication bottlenecks.

According to sources, two trains from Silchar travelled on the last day before the proposed Mega Block by the NF Railway comes into effect from October 1. The 52590 Down Silchar-Karimganj set forth on its journey at 6 am and hours later, the Lumding bound Barak Valley Express was flagged off for one last time with 13 coaches leaving behind a history and memories that would be etched in the hearts and minds of the people here. However, according to railway sources, a special train which left from Lumding on Sunday night is the last train which will enter the Silchar Railway Station before the NF Railways take over for the commencement of mega block.

�We have shared the history of this narrow-gauge rail line. The contribution of this narrow-gauge line which is approximately 200 years now has been phenomenal. We were fortunate to have the train services in those days. But as a matter of change, we want this replacement for good. We are eagerly waiting for the broad-gauge to whistle from Silchar and also want a part of the meter gauge trains to be kept as a memoir for the future generation,� said Dr Rajib Kar. He added to say that the people want reflections of the historic language movement of May 19, 1961 when the station would undergo renovation.

�We bid you farewell with a heavy heart, yet we are happy because you will arrive again in a new and much better way. You will be in our memory, good bye, good bye,� echoed a section of the gathering.

In the words of Moloy Bhattacharjee, a retired teacher and now a columnist, train lines in the hilly terrain of North East began in February, 1904. The authorities of the-then Assam-Bengal Railways had planned for a 736 mile railway track from Dibrugarh to the South Chittagong port. Bhattacharjee, who has been doing studies on the problems and issues that deter the gauge conversion in the said route, said �We have been promised of better railway services 18 years ago. However, it is good that the old is going to be replaced by the new: which is a must is considering the landlocked situation of this valley.�

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A sweet swansong to narrow gauge line in Silchar

SILCHAR, Sept 29 � The denizens of Silchar assembled in a unique swansong journey boarding onto the 15694 Down Barak Valley Express, the passenger train which chugged in for the last time from the Silchar Railway Station on Monday at 9:25am.

The railway station campus saw old-timers and youths alike joining to bid goodbye to the meter gauge train which has been a part of the lives of the people here for past many years. While the members of Nagarik Swartha Raksha Sangram Parishad spoke about the history of the narrow gauge lines and hoped the broad-gauge will soon arrive here, people were seen sharing their experiences of travelling by the trains on these meter gauge lines over the years. The youngsters were upbeat with happiness to bid adieu to the meter gauge services with songs and loud cheer acknowledging its contribution in the lives of the people of this region disturbed by communication bottlenecks.

According to sources, two trains from Silchar travelled on the last day before the proposed Mega Block by the NF Railway comes into effect from October 1. The 52590 Down Silchar-Karimganj set forth on its journey at 6 am and hours later, the Lumding bound Barak Valley Express was flagged off for one last time with 13 coaches leaving behind a history and memories that would be etched in the hearts and minds of the people here. However, according to railway sources, a special train which left from Lumding on Sunday night is the last train which will enter the Silchar Railway Station before the NF Railways take over for the commencement of mega block.

�We have shared the history of this narrow-gauge rail line. The contribution of this narrow-gauge line which is approximately 200 years now has been phenomenal. We were fortunate to have the train services in those days. But as a matter of change, we want this replacement for good. We are eagerly waiting for the broad-gauge to whistle from Silchar and also want a part of the meter gauge trains to be kept as a memoir for the future generation,� said Dr Rajib Kar. He added to say that the people want reflections of the historic language movement of May 19, 1961 when the station would undergo renovation.

�We bid you farewell with a heavy heart, yet we are happy because you will arrive again in a new and much better way. You will be in our memory, good bye, good bye,� echoed a section of the gathering.

In the words of Moloy Bhattacharjee, a retired teacher and now a columnist, train lines in the hilly terrain of North East began in February, 1904. The authorities of the-then Assam-Bengal Railways had planned for a 736 mile railway track from Dibrugarh to the South Chittagong port. Bhattacharjee, who has been doing studies on the problems and issues that deter the gauge conversion in the said route, said �We have been promised of better railway services 18 years ago. However, it is good that the old is going to be replaced by the new: which is a must is considering the landlocked situation of this valley.�