Adapted from compilation by Peter Tiller
This attractive gabled and half-timbered building has a good photographic display and some small artefacts on its upper floor. Ask the Stationmaster for admission.
There is a museum of interesting and well-preserved artefacts on the station platform. Admission tickets ( 10/-) are available from the booking office.
Situated both in the upper storey of Ghum Station building and in the area previously occupied by the goods and locomotive sheds is a display of DHR-related items, collected together immediately following World Heritage inscription in 1999. For those taking the 'Joy Train' from Darjeeling, the museum makes an ideal place to visit while waiting for the return journey. Museum admission is included in the 'Joy Train' fare or separate admission tickets ( 20/-) are available from the booking office.
In the outside area
In the outside area are examples of rolling stock, weighing machines etc., together with 'Baby Sivok', which has the appearance of a very small 'B' Class locomotive - although its ancestry is very different. After a spell on a plinth at Siliguri Junction station, it was overhauled at Tindharia in 1999 and is now displayed here.
The coach, No 93, was built at Gorakhpur in 1967/68. As seen today it is an example of the rebuilds to first class done in the 1980s with larger windows and a refitted interior with toilet. It is the last surviving example of this particular type, although other, which have been further rebuilt, are still in service.
Other items of note are three examples of 4-wheel steel vans, the staple of DHR freight stock. Those on display date from the 1940s and are amongst the last survivors of the once large number that were a common sight transporting goods to and from the Plains until freight traffic dwindled away in the 1980s due to road competition.
There is also a small water tank wagon thought to have been built in 1928.
The 4-wheel trolley on display was used for permanent way work. A number are still in service and are much smaller than those that were used for gravity-powered passenger traffic in the early days of operation - impossible now due to the volume of road traffic.
A weighbridge, supplied by Avery of Birmingham UK, was installed at Sukna in the early 1930s to control the weight (and number) of vehicles using the Hill Cart Road in an endeavour to reduce the wear on the road formation, designed as it was for hill carts. It was also to offer some protection for the freight traffic on DHR, vital to the economy of the line, which was being eroded by road competition. There are also two weighing machines used for parcel and goods traffic.
The indoor exhibition
The indoor exhibition is upstairs in the station building accessed over the footbridge. It is a mixed display of general World Heritage information and DHR artefacts, some of which have been donated by the families of former railway employees.
There is a wide-ranging display of early photographs showing all aspects of life on the DHR, with a section covering natural disasters, all too frequently causing disruption to traffic by way of landslips and earthquakes.
Exhibits range from sections of early rail to a DHR Guard’s uniform coat complete with original buttons, whistles, two palanquins (used to carry passengers from the station to their hotel), various chairs and desks and two brass bells: the larger one was rung to signal the departure of passenger trains and the smaller one performed the same function for freight trains. There are numerous small exhibits of stationary such as forms and rule books and other artefacts associated with the Stationmaster’s office. These include a padlock manufactured in London and originally fastening a metal cupboard in the offices at Darjeeling station. It reputedly resisted all attempts to break it during troubled times of the late 1980s, although the cupboard it secured showed the scars of rifle shots.
Of special interest to the railway buff is the display of locomotive manufacturers’ plates from Sharp Stewart & Co, North British Locomotive Company, Baldwin Locomotive Works and DHR’s own Tindharia Workshops.
Ghum Museum is due for renovation shortly.