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Road to Darjeeling - From the Plains

Having left Alex on the train, Andy and I proceeded to Darjeeling in a car.  These photos are all taken from the car so may not be the best but they give a feel of what the road was like.

The Siliguri area was in an area of plains before the Himalayan hills start.  Here you see the distinct change from the flat plains to the hills in front.  Also the railway track to the right of the road.


The road and the railway follow the same route all the way to Darjeeling apart from a few loops and reverses to allow the train to handle the changes in gradient.









We then started to go up the hills where there were a lot of trees and you could see the plains below.














As you go up the railway tracks cross the road about 170 times.  The one shown here is quite typical having had potholes next to the track refilled, though many were still to be patched up.


As the train progresses along the track it sounds its horn many times to warn approaching vehicles.  It also of course creates many traffic jams.









This is one such jam, the road is often not wide enough for two vehicles, especially with the many busses and lorries on the route, another reason for such queues.  

We also noted an extreme reluctance of drivers to give way often creating more problems than if they just let one another go occasionally.


The tracks also tend to become a pavement for many pedestrians as the cars usually stay off it.








On the way we passed Alex's train and gave him a wave.  He is sitting in the middle of the carriage in the red top.  There was a short distance of the train catching up and overtaking before the car eventually got ahead again.












We then left the train behind and continued up the hill, this was at about a third of the way along the trip.












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