All steamed up

One of the world’s most famous railways now has its own international support group. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Society has been established with the support of Indian Railways to help keep trains climbing 2135m up the 88 km, 610mm gauge line. Each monsoon season results in numerous trackbed washouts, whilst rolling stock is reaching the end of its serviceable life - the youngest locomotives are now 70 years old.

As well as raising the profile of the line worldwide, the society aims to help provide more modern rolling stock for tourist trains as an initial goal, and eventually to set up a museum in Darjiling.

For membership details or further information, please contact:

Ms Marilyn Metz, 80 Ridge Road, London N8 9NR, Great Britain.

Fax: +44 181 348 0016 e-mail:

On July 3 it was 60 years since the world speed record for steam traction was set during a special run of Gresley’s A4 ’Mallard’ from Grantham to Peterborough. To mark its 126mph sprint down Stoke Bank, the Gresley Society has teamed up with Great North Eastern Railway - whose inter-city trains now routinely copy that run. With sponsors Jarvis Rail, Railtrack and British Steel subsidiary CEDG, they have installed an A4 lineside markerboard - that is, in the shape of an A4 locomotive, of course.Meanwhile, on July 3 in France SNCF’s last remaining working steam locomotive began running Le Vapeur du Trieux in northern Brittany along the Pontrieux - Paimpol line. The 230G locomotive dates from 1922, and has been paired with 1930-built coaches. The train runs daily on the route until September 12.


Despite a clean-up after 49 grain wagons derailed on CP tracks in Yoho National Park, 980 tonnes of grain remained on the trackside. The prospect of an easy feast attracted black bears from the adjacent forest as they came out of hibernation. CP and Parks Canada have now installed an electric fence to deter them. We hope the bears don’t work out how to get further supplies, as Dieter hypothesises