Darjeeling: Railway Minister Mukul Roy on Sunday promised to restore the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, which now runs between Darjeeling and Kurseong, to Siliguri by 2013.
"The Railways will make an all-out effort to extend the services to Siliguri," he said.
The UNESCO heritage railway, which attracts tourists both foreign and domestic, has been running for years between Darjeeling and Kurseong as tracks up to Siliguri were damaged by landslides.
The minister on Sunday inaugurated two new services from the Queen of the Hills. One is a joyride to Ghoom station, which will be the fourth such service. The other is a joyride between Darjeeling and Kurseong.
Roy said the two new train services would boost tourism in the Queen of the Hills which has of late been witnessing an increased tourist inflow due to peaceful situation prevailing in Darjeeling following the GTA accord.
The minister said extension of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) would boost tourism in the hills and surrounding areas.
The DHR, which operates on narrow gauge tracks, is the second railway in the world to use century-old steam engines to pull the trains.
West Bengal Mamata Banerjee had on assuming power said she intended to turn Darjeeling into another Switzerland.
Roy said his ministry would consider the long-standing demand of the hill people to extend Darjeeling Mail to Gulma instead of now New Jalpaiguri.