There are two 'Black Diamond Expresses' in India. The official one runs on the Eastern Railway between Howrah and Dhanbad; the lesser known runs at Tipong Colliery, in the far north-east of Assam state, along the WW2 Stillwell Road and almost on the border with Burma.
The colliery is small and undoubtedly uneconomic, owing its survival to the exceptionally high quality coal it produces and the need to preserve jobs in a poor area. The railway is built to two foot (610 mm) gauge and the principal motive power is provided by two Darjeeling-Himalayan B class 0-4-0-ST (789 and 796) sold out of service many years ago, assisted by a small Bagnall 0-4-0-ST 'David' which is the last active survivor of a number of similar engines supplied to the area.
The line runs between the mines (deep and opencast) and an unloader whence the coal is now shipped out by road. Although it is barely 2.5km long, the line winds its way along a narrow river valley in an area of outstanding natural beauty.
A two hour film on such a short railway may seem overkill, but as always Rob and Yuehong Dickinson place the railway firmly in the context of the local community; that at Tipong is diverse having been drawn from all over India.
Join them at work, at play and at worship and see for yourself why all visitors leave totally entranced by the place...
Produced by - International Steam Videos
Running time - 120 Minutes
Aspect Ratio - 4:3
Format - DVD only