Mountain Railways of India
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, also known as the DHR or the Toy Train, is a 2 ft gauge railway that operates from New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling in the Indian state of West Bengal. Established between 1879 and 1881, it is about 88 km long rail track.
Darjeeling Himalayas Railways
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, known affectionately as the toy train, made its first journey on its precipice-topping, 2ft-wide tracks in 1881 and is one of the rare hill railways still operating in India. It becomes UNESCO World Heritage listing since 1999. Two-hour ‘joy rides’ from Darjeeling to Ghum and back do most people’s toy-train charges. There are usually about six of these pulled by antique steam engines daily and three or so with diesel locomotives. Just one diesel engine train in each way daily makes the entire 88km 7-hour journey between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling. And another train runs just from Kurseong to Darjeeling and back.
How to Ride the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway?
- Daily Passenger Services — “NDM-6” Class diesel engines operating from New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling, with first-class and modern new Vistadome air-conditioned vehicles.
- Toy Train Joy Rides — Diesel and steam engines with first-class coaches that take passengers on 2-hour trips from Darjeeling to Ghoom return. The joyride covers a 10 minute stop at Batasia Loop and 30 minute stop at Ghoom Railway Museum.
- Safari Trains — Diesel and steam rail engines operating from Siliguri to Rangtong return with the highlights existing views in Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary, railway museum at Sukna. Rongtong is the first high-altitude station on this route.
What we see in Toy Train Ride
There are distinct ranges of scenery along the route. These include the urban and rural plains between Siliguri and Sukna, a thick forest of Sukna to Rongtong, hills and tea gardens to Kurseong, and the final part with Himalayan pine and tea gardens to Darjeeling.
The train makes a loop around a manicured garden at Batasia, which provides a scenic view of Darjeeling perched on the hill and Mount Kanchenjunga in the background. At the middle of the garden is a War Memorial in honour of Gorkha soldiers they sacrificed their lives.