The Railway Ministry has decided to give more powers to Divisional Railway Managers and Directors of the five iconic Heritage Hill Railways of Indian Railways for enhancing their tourist potential and scientific preservation. In a directive issued by Executive Director/Heritage of the Railway Board, Subrata Nath has said that local communities within the operational area of these railways should be encouraged to participate in promoting tourism by providing them opportunities to showcase their art, culture, cuisine etc. The five Hill Heritage Railways are - Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR), Nilgiri Mountain Railway (NMR), Kalka Shimla Railway (KSR), Kangra Valley Railway (KVR) and Matheran Light Railway (MLR).
According to the new directive, the respective Divisional Railway Managers (DRMs), under whom the concerned Hill Railway operates, can treat these Hill Railways as separate activity and profit centres of the Division concerned. The DRMs are empowered to approve all regular and seasonal train services i.e. Joy Ride trains, Charter trips and Holiday Special train trips etc. to meet tourist and local demand.
The division concerned can engage any suitable agency for designing, packaging and marketing of tourist packages on these hill railways.
It may be mentioned that, the Chariman Railway Board, Shri Ashwini Lohani during his visit to Darjeeling Himalayan Railway last month had instructed for empowering Directors of Hill Railways to process and grant permission for film shooting and publicity of these railways for attracting more tourists.