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Howrah–New Jalpaiguri line

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Howrah–New Jalpaiguri line
Route map of Howrah–New Jalpaiguri line
OwnerIndian Railways
LocaleWest Bengal
Operator(s)Eastern Railway, Northeast Frontier Railway
Line lengthSLDH-NJP 573 km (356 mi) (HWH-NJP 561 km (349 mi))
Track gauge5 ft 6 in (1,676 mm) broad gauge
ElectrificationFully Electrified (Operational from 9 January 2020)
Operating speed130kmph (max)
Route map

UpperLeft arrow
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Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
New Jalpaiguri
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Aluabari Road
Left arrow
Right arrow
Right arrow
Left arrow
Right arrow
Old Malda Junction
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New Farakka
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LowerRight arrow
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Source: India Rail Info[1]

The Howrah–New Jalpaiguri line is a railway line connecting Howrah with New Jalpaiguri in North Bengal in the Indian state of West Bengal. The line continues through North Bengal and western part of Assam to connect with Guwahati. The NaihatiBandel link allows trains from another terminus Sealdah in Calcutta to use this route. The line uses a major part of the Barharwa–Azimganj–Katwa loop. Many trains use an alternative line between Howrah and New Farakka, via Bardhaman and Rampurhat. Other parts of West Bengal and Bihar are well-connected to this line. It is under the administrative jurisdiction of Eastern Railway and Northeast Frontier Railway.



The 561 km (349 mi)) long trunk line, been treated in more detail in smaller sections:

  1. Howrah–Bandel–Katwa section
  2. Barharwa–Azimganj–Katwa loop
  3. Barsoi–New Farakka section
  4. Katihar–New Jalpaiguri, Thakurganj and Siliguri sections

The route is as follows :

0 Howrah Junction

95 Bardhaman

146 Bolpur Shantiniketan

207 Rampurhat

293 New Farakka Junction

328 Malda Town

473 Kishanganj

561 New Jalpaiguri Junction

Earlier development


During the British period all connections to North Bengal were through the eastern part of Bengal. From 1878, the railway route from Calcutta (now spelt Kolkata) 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, then across the river in a ferry and the second lap of the journey. A 336 km metre-gauge line of the North Bengal Railway linked Saraghat on the northern bank of the Padma to Siliguri.[2]

The 1.849 kilometres (1.149 mi) long Hardinge Bridge across the Padma came up in 1912. Presently, it is between the Paksey and Bheramara stations on the broad-gauge line between Darshana and Parbatipur in Bangladesh.[3] In 1926 the metre-gauge section north of the bridge was converted to broad gauge, and so the entire 529 kilometres (329 mi) long Calcutta–Siliguri route became broad gauge.[2] The route till 1947 thus ran:
0 Sealdah
23 kilometres (14 mi) Barrackpore
38 kilometres (24 mi) Naihati
74 kilometres (46 mi) Ranaghat
169 kilometres (105 mi) BheramaraHardinge Bridge
225 kilometres (140 mi) Iswardi
287 kilometres (178 mi) Santahar
342 kilometres (213 mi) Hili
386 kilometres (240 mi) Parabtipur
430 kilometres (270 mi) Nilphamari
464.4 kilometres (288.6 mi) Haldibari
489 kilometres (304 mi) Jalpaiguri
529 kilometres (329 mi) Siliguri.

Post-partition development


With the partition of India in 1947, a major portion of the Calcutta–Siliguri line ran through East Pakistan, now Bangladesh. With several rail links in Bihar, the attention was on those links, and new links were developed. However, one hurdle stood out. There was no bridge across the Ganga river even in Bihar. A generally acceptable route to Siliguri was via Sahibganj loop to Sakrigali ghat. Across the Ganges by ferry to Manihari Ghat. Then metre gauge via Katihar and Barsoi to Kishanganj and finally narrow gauge to Sliguri.[4] In 1949 Kishanganj–Siliguri section was converted to metre gauge.[2]

In the early 1960s, when Farakka Barrage was being constructed, a far reaching change was made. Indian Railways constructed a new broad-gauge rail link from south Bengal. New Jalpaiguri, a new broad-gauge station was built south of Siliguri Town.[2] The 37 km (23 mi)-long 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) wide 5 ft 6 in (1,676 mm) broad gauge line was constructed from Khejuriaghat, on the north bank of the Ganga to Malda between 1959 and 1963.[5]

The 2,240 m (7,350 ft) long Farakka Barrage carries a rail-cum-road bridge across the Ganga. The rail bridge was opened in 1971 thereby linking the Barharwa–Azimganj–Katwa loop to Malda Town, New Jalpaiguri and other railway stations in North Bengal.[6]

Reorganisation in the Siliguri area


The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway came up as a narrow-gauge (2 feet) railway in 1881. In 1915, it was extended up the Teesta Valley to Gielle Kola and to the south to Kishenganj.[2] In 1949 Kishanganj – Siliguri was converted from narrow-gauge to metre-gauge and extended north-east into Assam, partly along the narrow-gauge Teesta Valley route. Along with development of the metre-gauge line, a new Siliguri Junction station, north of the traditional Siliguri Town station, became the main station in the area.[2] With the development of the broad-gauge system and the New Jalpaiguri station, the narrow gauge DHR was extended to New Jalpaiguri.[2]

The earlier Siliguri–Kishanganj metre-gauge line is now part of the Siliguri–Kishnaganj–Katihar metre-gauge line. Part of the metre-gauge track runs parallel to the broad-gauge track and part of it has a separate route.[2]

The Siliguri–Haldibari route, part of the original broad-gauge Calcutta–Siliguri track via Hardinge Bridge, got delinked from the trunk route because of partition in 1947. As all the other tracks in the area were metre gauge, it was converted from broad gauge to metre gauge in the late 1940s. When New Jalpaiguri station came up, the line was extended to New Jalpiguri. When broad-gauge lines were laid in the area, it was reconverted to broad gauge and now functions as the Haldibari–New Jalpaiguri line.[2]


The railway system in Assam got delinked from the rest of India in 1947.[2] In order to establish a link with Assam, the Assam Rail Link Project, connecting Kishanganj with Fakirgram was started on a war footing on 26 January 1948. A 229 km-long metre-gauge line was built and commissioned in two years. The Kishanganj branch of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway was taken over and converted to metre gauge. It was connected to the North Eastern Railway network at Barsoi. The Teesta Valley Line up to Sivok was taken over and converted to metre gauge. The link spanned three major rivers – Teesta, Torsha, and Sankosh. The Kishanganj–Naxalbari section was completed on 31 July 1948, the Naxalbari–New Bagrakot section on 26 January 1950, the Madarihat–Hashimara section on 25 December 1949 and Alipurduar–Fakirgram section on 26 January 1950.

In the seventies a new broad-gauge line was laid between New Jalpaiguri and Guwahati. The entire Barauni–Katihar–Guwahati line is being electrified.[7]

Branch lines


The Katihar–Barsoi–Raiganj–Radhikapur–Dinajpur–Parabatipur line is now operated on the Indian side up to Radhikapur only. The transit facility in the Radhikapur–Birol sector is virtually closed. The railway track on the Indian side has been converted to broad gauge while that on the Bangladesh side remains metre gauge.[8]

The Old Maldah–Rajshahi section is used up to Singhabad on the Indian side. Bangladesh started export of fertilizer to Nepal utilizing the Rahanpur–Singhabad transit point in November 2011.[9]

The 87.26 kilometres (54.22 mi)-long EklakhiBalurghat broad-gauge line was opened in 2004.[10] Extension of the Eklakhi–Balurghat branch line to Hili was announced in the Rail Budget for 2010–11.[11]

See also Barharwa–Azimganj–Katwa loop for other branch lines along this route.

Railway electrification


Fully electrified. Passenger service with electric locomotives initiated on 09.01.2020.[12] [13]



Some of the important trains running through this line are as follows:

  1. Howrah-New Jalpaiguri Vande Bharat Express
  2. Howrah-New Jalpaiguri Shatabdi Express
  3. Howrah–New Jalpaiguri AC Superfast Express
  4. Sealdah-New Jalpaiguri Superfast Darjeeling Mail
  5. Sealdah-New Alipurduar Padatik Superfast Express
  6. Sealdah-Alipurduar Kanchan Kanya Express
  7. Sealdah-New Alipurduar Teesta Torsha Express
  8. Sealdah-Malda Town Gour Express
  9. Sealdah-Bamanhat Uttar Banga Express
  10. Sealdah–Silchar Kanchenjunga Express
  11. Sealdah–Agartala Kanchenjunga Express
  12. Sealdah-Rampurhat Intercity Express
  13. Sealdah-Rampurhat Maa Taara Express
  14. Sealdah-Saharsa Hate Bazare Express
  15. Howrah-Dibrugarh Kamrup Express
  16. Howrah–Malda Town Intercity Express
  17. Howrah-Guwahati Saraighat Superfast Express
  18. Howrah–Rampurhat Express
  19. Howrah-Bolpur Shantiniketan Express
  20. Howrah-Azimganj Ganadevata Express
  21. Howrah-Radhikapur Kulik Express
  22. Howrah–Jamalpur Express
  23. Howrah–Gaya Express
  24. Howrah–Malda Town Intercity Express
  25. Howrah–Azimganj Kavi Guru Express
  26. Howrah-Malda Town Express via Azimganj
  27. Howrah–Katihar Weekly Express
  28. Digha-New Jalpaiguri Paharia Express
  29. Digha–Malda Town Express
  30. Kolkata-Dibrugarh Superfast Express
  31. Kolkata–Haldibari Intercity Express
  32. Kolkata–Jogbani Express
  33. Kolkata–Guwahati Garib Rath Express
  34. Kolkata–Radhikapur Express
  35. Kolkata-Balurghat Tebhaga Express


  1. ^ "Old Malda–Singhabad Passenger 55710". India Rail Info.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "India: the complex history of the junctions at Siliguri and New Jalpaiguri". IRFCA. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  3. ^ Chowdhury, Sifatul Quader (2012). "Hardinge Bridge". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. (eds.). Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
  4. ^ "my school i wish". Madhyamgram Re-visited after 15 years. Retrieved 23 January 2011.
  5. ^ Moonis Raza & Yash Aggarwal (1986). Transport Geography of India: Commodity Flow and the Regional Structure of Indian Economy. Concept Publishing Company, A-15/16 Commercial Block, Mohan Garden, New Delhi – 110059. ISBN 81-7022-089-0. Retrieved 2 May 2013. {{cite book}}: |work= ignored (help)
  6. ^ 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 5 July 2011.
  7. ^ "Electrification of Barauni–Katihar–Guwahati railway section at Rs. 506 crore". Top News. 7 February 2008. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  8. ^ "Executive Summary" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 April 2012. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  9. ^ "Bangladesh export to Nepal thru India resumes tomorrow". Priyo Internet Life. Archived from the original on 6 April 2012. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  10. ^ "Opening of Eklakhi–Balurghat new line". Press Information Bureau. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
  11. ^ "Railway projects galore for Bengal". The Hindu Business Line. 26 February 2010. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
  12. ^ "Vision 2020 - A Blueprint for Railway Electrification Programme" (PDF). Indian Railways. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 July 2012. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
  13. ^ "Brief on Railway Electrification". Central Organisation for Railway Electrification [CORE]. Archived from the original on 14 March 2011. Retrieved 19 September 2012.