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Toy Train Stories: Darjeeling adds three more steam engines to its list of rides

Tourists get to relive the romance of British era steam engine after Darjeeling Himalayan Railway decides to add three additional pairs of toy trains

Train toy Darjeeking. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
  • Darjeeling adding three pairs of toy trains to compliment its Himalayan beauty 
  • At present, only six pairs of the British-era steam engine are being run in the town
  • However, it should be noted that the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway has of late been facing many challenges in the form of frequent landslides during rainy seasons

Guwahati, September 1, 2016: In cheering news to those planning a vacation in Queen of Hills, Darjeeling, the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has decided to introduce three additional pairs of toy trains between Darjeeling and Ghum in the world famous Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR), a UNESCO World heritage Site.

Chief Public relation officer of the NFR, Pranav Jyoti Sharma said on Wednesday that the additional three pairs of trains will be started from September 10 this year to enable tourists to relive the romance of British era steam engine hauled narrow gauge railway tracks without much hassles.

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At present only six pairs of tourist trains are being run between the six km stretch from Darjeeling and Ghum and return.

“With this introduction scheduled to be operational from September 10, there will be nine pairs of toy trains playing on the 6 km distance between Ghum and Darjeeling. All the three new trains would be hauled by steam Locomotives which have a high heritage appeal among tourists,” he said.

Three of the current six pairs are hauled by steam engine while the rest three are being hauled by Diesel locomotives, he added.

Sharma further said that NFR has recently refurbished as many as 14 narrow gauge coaches by which the seating capacity of these coaches has also been increased to as many as 28 seats from existing 12, 14 and 16-seater coaches.

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“Such refurbishment and restoration has been very difficult because Narrow Gauge rolling stock is no longer produced and spares, component etc. are also not easily available. With each diesel locomotive hauling three coaches and steam loco hauling two, these 9 trains will haul as many as 21 coaches during the peak season catering to the large festive season rush,” Sharma added.

It may be mentioned here that DHR has of late been facing many challenges in the form of frequent landslides during rainy seasons especially in the portions near Paglajhora and Tindharia. Preservation and conservation of this railway which has been recognized as an asset and accorded World Heritage Status by UNESCO is a task being undertaken by NFR in right earnest. (IANS)


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  • Manthra koliyer

    the toy trains have added to the beauty of Darjeeling!

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Pentavalent vaccine: Doctors raise red flag

In spite of the data presented in this paper from a large cohort, the authors point out that the evidence is merely circumstantial and not conclusive

the new Hepatitis B vaccine for adults is called Heplisav-B.
India's PV to be reexamined because of its harmful effects. .
  • Pentavalent vaccine was introduced in India six years ago
  • It is since then have been a cause of many deaths
  • Doctors want it to be reexamined before continuing its use

Pentavalent vaccine (PV), that was introduced by India a little over six years ago, doubled the deaths of children soon after vaccination compared to the DPT (Diphtheria-Pertussis-Tetanus) vaccine, according to a new study that calls for a “rigorous review of the deaths following vaccination with PV”.

Health officials have launched a campaign targeting nearly 24 million people with a one-fifth dose of the vaccine. Wikimedia Commons
PV has been cause of many deaths in past years. Wikimedia Commons

Government records show that there were 10,612 deaths following vaccination (both PV and DPT) in the last 10 years. There was a huge increase in these numbers in 2017, which the Health Ministry has promised to study. “The present analysis could be a starting point in the quest to reduce the numbers of such deaths,” authors of the new study say.

The study by Dr Jacob Puliyel, Head of Pediatrics at St Stephens Hospital, and Dr V. Sreenivas, Professor of Biostatistics at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), both in New Delhi, is published in the peer-reviewed Medical Journal of Dr D.Y. Patil University.

PV is a combination of the DPT vaccine and two more vaccines against Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) and hepatitis B. Starting December 2011, PV was introduced into India’s immunisation programme to replace DPT vaccine in a staged manner with a view to adding protection against Hib and Hepatitis B without increasing the number of injections given to infants.

Doctors have raised concerns over these vaccines. Wikimedia Commons
Doctors have raised concerns over these vaccines. Wikimedia Commons

But sporadic reports of unexplained deaths following immunisation with PV had been a matter of concern. Puliyel, Sreenivas and their colleagues undertook the study to find out if these deaths were merely coincidental or vaccine-induced.

The authors obtained data of all deaths reported from April 2012 to May 2016 under the Right to Information Act. Data on deaths within 72 hours of administering DPT and PV from different states were used.

For their study, the authors assumed that all deaths within 72 hours of receiving DPT are natural deaths. Using this figure as the baseline, they presumed that any increase in the number of deaths above this baseline among children receiving PV must be caused by this vaccine.

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According to their analysis of the data provided by the government, there were 237 deaths within 72 hours of administering the Pentavalent vaccine — twice the death rate among infants who received DPT vaccine.

Extrapolating the data, the authors have estimated that vaccination of 26 million children each year in India would result in 122 additional deaths within 72 hours, due to the switch from DPT to PV.

“There is likely to be 7,020 to 8,190 deaths from PV each year if data from states with the better reporting, namely Manipur and Chandigarh, are projected nationwide,” their report says.

It is important to make sure that these vaccines are reexamined peroperly. VOA

The authors note that while the study looks at the short-term increase in deaths (within three days of vaccination) it does not calculate the potential benefits of PV on infant mortality, for example by protection against lethal diseases like Haemophilus influenza.

In spite of the data presented in this paper from a large cohort, the authors point out that the evidence is merely circumstantial and not conclusive. “These findings of differential death rates between DPT and PV do call for further rigorous prospective population-based investigations,” the study concludes. IANS