Darjeeling Mail

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Darjeeling Mail
Darjeeling Mail trainboard.jpg
Service type Superfast Mail
Current operator(s) Eastern Railway of Indian Railways
Ridership Popular train between Kolkata-New Jalpaiguri / Siliguri with slip route to- Haldibari via Jalpaiguri
Start Sealdah
Stops Bardhaman, Bolpur, Malda Town, Kishanganj
End New Jalpaiguri/Siliguri - Slip route to- Haldibari via Jalpaiguri
Distance travelled 567 km (Sealdah-New Jalpaiguri)
624 km (Sealdah-Haldibari)
Average journey time 9 hrs 55 mins (Sealdah-New Jalpaiguri)[1]
Service frequency Daily
Train number(s) 12343/12344
On-board services
Class(es) AC 1st (1), AC 2nd (2), AC 3rd (7), Sleeper (9), General (6)
Catering facilities No Pantry Car available - one must buy food at the starting station
Rolling stock Siliguri shed WDP4/WDP4B /WDG 4 locomotive
Track gauge 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in)
Operating speed Average speed-60kph. Maximum speed 110kph. Generally runs at 70-90kph

The Darjeeling Mail is one of the legendary trains in the eastern region of India that has been running from pre-independence days and is still in operation. It connects to the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway at New Jalpaiguri in Siliguri. This is a major train for Kolkata-Siliguri route and Haldibari slip route.

Darjeeling Mail - AC 3 tier
Darjeeling Mail - Sleeper Class


Run via East Bengal[edit]

During the British period all connections to North Bengal were through East Bengal.

From 1878, the railway route from Kolkata, then called Calcutta, to Siliguri was in two laps. The first lap was a 185 km journey along the Eastern Bengal State Railway from Calcutta Station (later renamed Sealdah) to Damookdeah Ghat on the southern bank of the Padma River. The passengers would then avail a ferry across the river. The second lap of the journey was a 336 km metre gauge line of the North Bengal Railway that linked Saraghat on the northern bank of the Padma to Siliguri.[2]

Later the 1.8 km long Hardinge Bridge across the Padma came up in 1912.[3] In 1926 the metre-gauge section north of the bridge was converted to broad gauge, and so the entire Calcutta - Siliguri route became broad-gauge.[2] The route thus roughly ran: Sealdah-Ranaghat-Bheramara-Hardinge Bridge-Iswardi-Santahar-Hili-Parabtipur-Nilphamari-Haldibari-Jalpaiguri-Siliguri.

The Darjeeling Mail ran on this route in pre-partition days. Even after the partition of India it ran on this route for some years.[4][5]

Ferry across Ganges(Post-partition)[edit]

With the partition of India in 1947, the major hurdle in connecting Kolkata and Siliguri was that there was no bridge across the Ganges in West Bengal or Bihar. A generally acceptable route to Siliguri was via Sahibganj Loop to Sakrigali ghat, then across the Ganges by ferry to Manihari Ghat on the other side,then to Kishanganj via Katihar and Barsoi and finally through narrow gauge to Siliguri.[6] In 1949 Kishanganj-Siliguri section was too converted to metre gauge,thus making the entire route an uni-gauge one.[2]

Run via Farakka Barrage[edit]

In the early 1960s, when Farakka Barrage was being constructed, a more radical change was made. Indian Railways created a new broad-gauge rail link from Kolkata, and on a greenfield site south of Siliguri Town built an entirely new broad-gauge junction, New Jalpaiguri.[2]

The 2,240 metres (7,350 ft) long Farakka Barrage carries a rail-cum-road bridge across the Ganges. The rail bridge was thrown open to the public in 1971, thereby linking the Barharwa-Azimganj-Katwa Loop Line to Malda Town, New Jalpaiguri and other railway stations in North Bengal.[7][8] Since then Darjeeling Mail has been using the Howrah-New Jalpaiguri line.[9]


  1. ^ "Darjeeling Mail 12343". Clear Trip. Retrieved 2012-03-04. 
  2. ^ a b c d "India: the complex history of the junctions at Siliguri and New Jalpaiguri". IRFCA. Retrieved 2011-11-12. 
  3. ^ Chowdhury, Sifatul Quader (2012). "Hardinge Bridge". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. 
  4. ^ Joydeep Dutta and Harsh Vardhan. "Trains of Fame and Locos with a Name, part 2". IRFCA. Retrieved 2012-02-22. 
  5. ^ "Geography - International". IRFCA. Retrieved 2012-02-22. 
  6. ^ "my school i wish". Madhyamgram Re-visited after 15 years. Retrieved 2011-01-23. 
  7. ^ Salman, Salman M. A.; Uprety, Kishor (2002). Conflict and cooperation on South Asia's international rivers: a legal perspective. World Bank Publications. pp. 135–136. ISBN 978-0-8213-5352-3. Retrieved 2011-07-05. 
  8. ^ R.P.Saxena. "Indian Railway History timeline". Retrieved 2011-11-20. 
  9. ^ "Darjeeling Mail (12343)". ixigo. Retrieved 2012-02-22. 

External links[edit]

External video
Darjeeling Mail-WDP4 magic with 8 AC coaches
Darjeeling Mail at Kamarkundu Junction