Northeast Frontier Railway Zone (India)

Northeast Frontier Railway Zone (India)
Northeast Frontier Railway
System map
3-Northeast Frontier Railway
Locale Assam, Bihar and West Bengal
Dates of operation 1958–
Predecessor North Eastern Railway
Headquarters Maligaon Railway Station, Guwahati
Website NFR official website

The Northeast Frontier Railway abbreviated as N F Railway is one of the 16 railway zones in India. Headquartered in Maligaon, Guwahati in the state of Assam it is responsible for rail operations in the entire Northeast and parts of West Bengal and Bihar. It is divided into 5 divisions:

  • Alipurdaur Railway Division
  • Katihar Railway Division
  • Lumding Railway Division
  • Rangiya Railway Division
  • Tinsukia Railway Division

Each of these divisions is headed by a Divisional Railway Manager, a Senior Administrative Grade officer of the rank of Joint Secretary to Government of India.

The departmental setup at headquarter level and divisional setup in the field assists the General Manager in running the railways. Various departments namely engineering, mechanical, electrical, signal & telecom, operations, commercial, safety, accounts, security, personal and medical are headed by a Senior Administrative Grade / Higher Administrative Grade officer, provide technical and operational support to the divisions in train operations.



The North Eastern Railway was formed on 14 April 1952 by amalgamating two Railway systems: the Assam Railway and Oudh and Tirhut Railway. Later, it was bifurcated into two railway zones on 15 January 1958, the North Eastern Railway (India) and the Northeast Frontier Railway.[1] to better serve the needs of the northeastern states.

Operational area

The area of Northeast Frontier Railway operations is characterized by exceptional beauty and at the same time by some of the most arduous terrain. This difficult terrain limits the rail network expansion, and the only state with a decent rail network is Assam. The network is not broad gauge in many parts and the rail lines are antiquated with speeds at some sections being limited to a maximum of 30 km/h (19 mph). Before the Saraighat bridge was constructed, passengers had to get down on the Amingaon side of the Brahmaputra and take a ferry across to Pandu Junction from where they could resume your journey. Majority of the tracks has been converted to BG and electrification is in process starting from Katihar till Guwahati.

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway

Batasia Loop,Darjeeling N.F.Railway, Photograph by Vikramjit Kakati, kakati(at)

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) ascends 6,850 feet (2,090 m) from New Jalpaiguri; the climb begins at Sukna, continues uninterruptedly to Ghum (7,407 ft/2,258 m) and descends the final 5 miles (8.0 km) to Darjeeling. After independence, India's partition resulted in the isolation of the Northeast region. Consequently, the DHR was merged into Assam Railways, it was closed for the construction of the Assam-Bengal link line and one of its extension lines to Kishanganj was converted to metre gauge. DHR's other extension line to Kalimpong got washed away due to floods. On re-opening, the DHR was merged with North Eastern Railway in 1952 and later into Northeast Frontier Railway in 1958.

The DHR achieved worldwide fame for many reasons such as:

  • A gateway to the Himalayas
  • The tiny 4-wheeled steam locomotives of the 19th century
  • The curves, loops, "Z"s and steep grades crisscrossing the road

An interest in DHR all along has ensured that it continues to operate notwithstanding very heavy losses. The steam locomotive is an icon of this Railway. Tindharia workshop has kept 13 locomotives surviving, some of which are over 100 years old and the youngest is about 70 years old.

Timeline of DHR:

  • January 20, 1948: Purchased by the Government of India
  • January 26, 1948: Transferred to Assam Rail Link
  • January 26, 1950: Transferred to Assam Railway
  • January 14, 1952: Transferred to North Eastern Railway
  • January 15, 1958: Transferred to Northeast Frontier Railway

Notable trains

The following is a list of the notable trains operated by the Northeast Frontier Railway Zone:

  • Purvottar Sampark Kranti Express (Guwahati-New Delhi)
  • Guwahati Rajdhani Express (the train and rake belong to the Northern Railway Zone)
  • Dibrugarh - New Delhi Rajdhani Express
  • North East Express (Guwahati-New Delhi)
  • Kaziranga Express (Guwahati-Bangalore)
  • Kamrup Express (Dibrugarh-Howrah)
Darjeeling to Ghoom Heritage Narrow Gauge Train :: Photograph by : Vikramjit Kakati
  • Garib Rath Express (Guwahati-Kolkata)
  • Ernakulam Express (Guwahati-Ernakulam)
  • Trivandrum Express (Guwahati-Trivandrum)
  • Kanchenjunga Express (Guwahati-Sealdah)
  • Saraighat Express (Guwahati-Howrah) (the train rake belongs to the Eastern Railway Zone)
  • Brahmaputra Mail (Dibrugarh-Delhi Jn) (the rake belongs to the Northern Railway Zone)
  • Darjeeling to Ghoom Heritage Narrow Gauge Train (Darjeeling to Ghoom)


  1. ^ Rao, M.A. (1988). Indian Railways, New Delhi: National Book Trust, pp.42-4

External links

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