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Day 94: Digboi to Dibrugah

Digboi, Nagaland and Assam 
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Hearing Anne (holding the handbag) and Sarah's story on the world's noisiest train, from Digboi to Dibrugah, Assam.
Michael Palin - HimalayaIt seems years have passed since leaving Digboi when the train finally pulls into Tinsoukia, less than 30 miles down the track. As we approach Tinsoukia station the view on both sides is of decommissioned steam locomotives, row upon row of them in overgrown sidings. Some lie on their sides, some are hung around with vines and creeper and, as there seems to have been no attempt to strip them down, they remain intact, as if a spell had been put on them.

We move out of Tinsoukia at a pace that would make a snail seem nippy. Seeing our impatience, a jolly, bespectacled lady in a gold-trimmed sari smiles broadly across at us.

'This is a train for people who have no work.'

We talk about local things. She's a professor at Dibrugah University and has strong views on the need for India to look east. She is a firm believer in an economic development initiative, ungracefully mnemonicized as BIMSTEC, to encourage co-operation between Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and China. A recent meeting, however, was hobbled by the Indian government refusing visas to the Chinese delegation until the night before the conference. Understandably, they cancelled.
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  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 94: Digboi to Dibrugah
  • Country/sea: India
  • Place: Tinsoukia
  • Book page no: 223

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