MY DARJEELING HIMALAYAN RAILWAY MODELS
by Anurag Lakandry
Since my childhood I have always been really close to the railway operating environment because my grandfathers used to work in Darjeeling Himalayan Railway and my father still does. We live in a house in tindharia which is next to the engine shed and so I have been able to visit to watch, learn and study the working of the steam engines and the railway all my life. I gained inspiration from all this and I now fully understand how a steam engine works and operates and more particularly how all its parts make it work. This led me to start to make accurate scale models of steam engines including working models powered by electric motors, all from scratch without bought in parts. To increase my knowledge and the accuracy of my models I spent time learning in more detail how steam engines worked, always encouraged by my family.
This year I was given opportunity by Mr. Michael Whitehouse, chairman vintage trains England, to travel abroad to join a european railway study group visiting Myanmar and Thailand where I experienced the operating of their meter and two foot guage railway system and visited workshops and operating depots for close study. In Myanmar the railway manager gave me the opportunity to learn how to drive a 2-6-2 steam engine no.42 on the main line under supervision which taught me how to use the engine's controls, including the regulator, brake and reverser and how to keep a safe look out on the line ahead. I visited several railway workshop and saw, at first hand, how a locomotive is repaired , maintained and operated.
On this study tour I was obliged to speak, listen and converse wholly in English with Myanmar, Thai, British, German and French railway experts which increased my communication skills and developed my confidence and ability to interact with people older than myself, which was a unique opportunity for a young man from a small village tindharia. I returned home with greater confidence and knowledge.