Janakapur Train Station: No Blast from the Past


L1000158

I wish I had taken these first two images. Not only because they are great photos, but mainly because it would mean that Nepal’s only train station — here in Janakpur — was still open. The photographer is unknown to me, but kudos to him/her and I hope s/he doesn’t mind me using the photos. They were shared with me by the hotel manager at the place where we stayed. He wanted to show me what the station looked like when it was last open, which was just over a year ago.

The reason for its closure was veiled in the usual confusion of partial information: management problems, money problems, and plans to connect the line with the train line on the other side of the Indian border.  Which…by the way… it may also be already connected to.  No one was very clear on that either.  Chances are it stopped on one side of the border, but it didn’t connect over completely.  But I think a unified Nepalese/Indian connection is now on the cards.

It was the only train line in Nepal, and perhaps the only still functioning, original steam train in the world.  The word is that it will reopen soon, but not as a steam train unfortunately.  That blast from the past won’t be heard again at Janakpur station.

I’m told the old steam train traveled so slowly that you could jump off and walk beside it.  Which, of course, helps explain the bravado of the roof and door riders.  Not so scary when its not traveling at sixty miles an hour.

Today the images are quite different.  The train sits permanently in front of the station, like it might actually be leaving some time soon.  And outside the station, there’s still a bunch of rickshaw drivers waiting to pick up a ride like no-one actually told them there trains had stopped.  (I guess old habits die hard.)

DSC01485

Rickshaw drivers waiting outside the station. I guess its still their turf…train or no train.

DSC01477 - Copy

The lonely train sitting at the station in 2014

But the station’s closing doesn’t seem to have had too much impact on its visitors. The station and track were teeming with life. We walked a ways along the track with many others who were using it as a road to work or school. There were bikes, vendors, customers and garbage a plenty. Life was going on as normal, just without the functioning train.

DSC01478 - Copy

DSC01479 - Copy

DSC01480 - Copy

Peeking inside the dilapidated carriages.

DSC01481 - Copy

DSC01482 - Copy

The tree is behind the train. The bush is growing inside it.

DSC01483 - Copy

“Passengers” walking along the tracks

DSC01484 - Copy

The only billboard I saw, advising passengers that they were entering a district with malaria.

4 thoughts on “Janakapur Train Station: No Blast from the Past

  1. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Relic | Wright Outta Nowhere

    • I kept getting such conflicting information from people…even on when the station actually closed, but it was a couple of years ago (I think). Rumours and conflicting info on when it might connect with India, open and possibly get expanded through the Terai. That would be great. Its so badly needed here.

      Like

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s