Youngsters hobby stems from fact that he has always been fascinated by Darjeeling Himalayan Railway.
Anurag Lakandry, a 24-year-old ITI student and resident of Tindharia in Darjeeling, is creating waves by making miniature models of the famous Darjeeling Toy Train to popularise it around the world.
Speaking about his endeavours to this correspondent, Lakandry says that his hobby stems from the fact that he has always been fascinated by the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) and thus came up with the idea of making miniatures on them.
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) or Toy Train is a two feet narrow gauge railway based on zig-zag and loop line technology that runs between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling in the state of West-Bengal.
“Everyone in my family has always worked for the DHR as loco pilots and my house is near a railway loco shed. These coupled with my natural inclination gradually made me garner interest in Railways.”
Elaborating on how he makes the models, Lakandry says that the materials he uses are varied.
“I use a lot of different things to make these models. Nuts, bolts, fuse snips, wires, and metal sheets are just a few of the things that I used. I make use of simple things to make them as I lack good accessories.” As for the parts of metals he uses, he solders them himself. And whenever he runs out of material, he just picks up the scraps from different shops which he feels will fit the general make of the model.
“All the parts of the DHR engine are in my mind so it never creates any problem for me when I am sourcing the materials for it,” he adds.
Lakandry says that support for his endeavour comes from the most unlikeliest of sources.
“There are a few British gentlemen who had supported me a lot. Michael Whitehouse, chairman of Vintage Trains is one such person. He sends me the motors tracks to make my model accurate.”
Lakandry adds that he has been to Thailand, Myanmar in 2014 and 2017 with European railway experts where he learnt a lot of things about the Railways.
The youth adds, “I visited the railway sheds depots in Myanmar and Thailand in 2014 where I also got the chance to drive a 2ft Burmese Mine Railway Tender Tank Steam locomotive in the main line.”
Last year, Lakandry was also fortunate enough to drive YC 629 Meter Guage Steam Locomotive on the main line of Indian Railways.
The young locomotive enthusiast adds that while many people do show interest in his models, it is the Railfans from Britain who especially love the DHR. It was with the help of such Railfans that Lakendry was able to graduate from dead engines to motorized ones.
At present Lakandry is attempting to make a steam model with the help of a boiler cylinder and books on steam engines that the railfans have sent him.
Anurag has started getting orders from London, Singapore, Russia and some other places as well.
On December 2, 1999 the UNESCO conferred the World Heritage site status to DHR which became only the second railway in the world to receive such status.