Why Does Sikkim Not Have A Railway Station Till Now?

The foundation stone for Rangpo station was laid in February 2024 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

by Nikitha Sebastian
Why Does Sikkim Not Have A Railway Station Till Now?

After nearly half a century of waiting, the mountainous state of Sikkim in India is finally set to be connected to the national railway network in a phased approach. The long-awaited Rangpo station, due for completion in 2025, marks a significant milestone for Sikkim’s connectivity and accessibility.

A Long-Awaited Connection

Image Credit: Canva ( Representative Image)

But why the long wait? Sikkim’s unique geographical location and environmental concerns played a significant role. Nestled in the Himalayas, Sikkim boasts breathtaking landscapes but also challenging terrain. Building a railway line through these mountains requires extensive tunnelling and bridge construction, making it a complex and expensive undertaking.

Additionally, environmental considerations were paramount. Sikkim is a biodiversity hotspot, and the state government strived to ensure minimal ecological disruption during construction. The wait, however, is about to end. The foundation stone for Rangpo station was laid in February 2024 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The 45-kilometre Sivok-Rangpo railway project, of which Rangpo station is a part, will see the construction of 22 bridges and 14 tunnels. Interestingly, the line may also boast India’s first underground station at Teesta Bazaar, another testament to the project’s ambitious engineering.

Phased Approach For Strategic Development

Image Credit: Canva ( Representative Image)

Adding to the excitement, Deputy Railway Manager of Alipurduar, Amarjeet Agrawal, has shed light on the Rangpo station’s dual significance for Sikkim and India. He emphasises that the station will cater not only to tourism but also play a crucial role in bolstering national defence.

This ambitious railway project is envisioned to unfold in three phases, strategically connecting Sikkim’s key locations. This phased approach ensures a well-rounded development strategy. While the initial phases prioritise tourism and economic growth, the eventual connection to Nathula strengthens India’s defence capabilities in the strategically sensitive Himalayan region.

The arrival of railways in Sikkim is expected to usher in a new era of progress. Improved connectivity will provide a significant boost to tourism, a major source of income for the state. Travellers will have a more convenient and affordable way to reach Sikkim’s stunning scenery, monasteries, and cultural experiences. Local businesses are also set to benefit from easier access to markets and the streamlining of freight movement.

Also Read: Sikkim Celebrates 49 Years Of Statehood Today & Here’s Why This State Should Be On Every Travel Lover’s Bucket List!

The project is not without its challenges. The mountainous terrain continues to pose engineering difficulties, and unforeseen circumstances could cause delays. However, the potential benefits for Sikkim’s economy and development are undeniable. The wait may have been long, but the arrival of the first railway station marks a turning point for this beautiful Himalayan state. As Sikkim steams ahead, the future looks bright for its connection to the wider world.

Cover Image Courtesy: Canva ( Representative Image)

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