TECHNOLOGY: Hill rail society website receives millionth hit – but does that absolve it from the reality of a ruined National Heritage Toy Train Ride, still riding only in cyber-space and not ground reality ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Siliguri, Sept. 6: The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Society’s website has been viewed a million times in a span of five years.
“We are delighted to inform the success of our website http://www.dhrs.org which recently had its millionth hit. The website has been religiously providing information on the historical background and current details of the Unesco World Heritage Railway for the past five year,” Paul Whittle, the DHRS vice-chairman wrote in an e-mail to The Telegraph.
This comes as another laurel for the society after being given the Best International Achievement Award last year by the Association of Community Rail Partnerships — an association funded by the UK’s department of transport — for its contribution towards the DHR.
Established in 1997 by a small band of toy train lovers, the society currently has over 800 members in 24 countries. The website was launched in May 2005 with an aim to garner support for the hill railway.
However, as the official website has not been updated for the past few months, the society’s website is the only source which is keeping tourists updated on the disruption of DHR services in the NJP-Kurseong section because of landslides on NH55 at Paglajhora.
DHR director P.P. Roy said the official website had not been updated because of technical problems.
“We have revived the website recently but are yet to update it. That measure too shall be taken and the latest information on the DHR will be posted on the site soon,” said Roy.
According to Whittle, page views are over 500 each day, with a third of visitors from India and elsewhere in Asia.
“The DHR’s official site has not been updated for a long time and we are glad that so many people rely on information provided by us,” wrote the vice-chairman of the society.
Managed by Mick Melbourne, the website offers a variety of information on the heritage railway. An archive relates sequentially the history of the DHR from the time the Darjeeling Steam Tramway Company started constructing narrow gauge tracks in 1879.
A photo gallery with old as well as recent snaps of the toy train, news articles on the DHR and information on the charity wing of the society, Darjeeling Railway Community Support group and Education Group, are among the pages listed on the website.
“The success of our website is a tribute to our volunteer webmaster, Mick Melbourne, who updates it between his many other commitments,” said Whittle.
Besides the website, Darjeeling Mail, the quarterly magazine published by the society, is another source of information on the DHR with inputs provided by DHRS members in the hills.