India’s Disappearing Railways

Friday, 18 December 2015

India's Disappearing Railways - 270India has many railways, but this photographic study follows the picturesque routes of 10 of the narrow gauge lines. Sadly the photographer and author Angus McDonald died before his book was published. In 2013 I was going to be on a panel with him at a travel writing festival in Melbourne. A few weeks before we would have met Angus, who was enjoying an unexpected remission from cancer, had gone to the Irrawaddy Writers Festival in Myanmar.

As he and his fiancé Catherine Anderson were about to fly out of Yangon the cancer suddenly returned with devastating speed and finality and he died at the airport. Catherine wrote an account of this horrifying event in The Guardian. Proceeds from the sale of the book will go to The Angus McDonald Trust’s work in Myanmar.

TW-12703 - Darjeeling Himalayan Railway 540  ▲ In 1994 Angus had travelled across China to Burma, following the tracks of ‘Morrison of Peking’ and wrote about it in The Five Foot Road: In Search of a Vanished China. His Indian railway book makes a fine postscript to an adventurous life. I’ve ridden the narrow gauge lines up to Matheran near Mumbai and the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, this is one of my photographs of the Darjeeling train.