So, if you ask me what are the things to do if you visit Darjeeling, a hill station in West Bengal? The first thing I would suggest is to have the Darjeeling toy train ride and I bet you, if you are travelling with your kids, they will be really happy to meet their cartoon besties, “Thomas and friends”. Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is one of the most famous and on the top of the ranking among all mountain railways in India.
Darjeeling is also known as the Queen of the Himalayan Region , having said that it is also one of the biggest tea producers in India. The Darjeeling tea is very famous in India and it’s neighbor countries like Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet. People from Kolkata often tries to accomplish a short trip here to escape from the scorching heat of summer.
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway was established in 1881 and was the first mountain railway to operate. It is a narrow gauge railway (610 mm). Toy train is famous for Loops and Zig Zags which were created because of the steep hills of the Himalayas, all of the mountain railways in india are more of rising sharply and because of that those tracks are made in twisted Zig-Zag way. The train climbs up the hill half and then slides down backward and again in a speed climb up the hill; this technique is used, so that the train gets the speed required climbing up the hill. There are some amazing facts about Indian Railways , at a glance you can check it out. Zig Zags gives a thrilling experience altogether and how can I forget the mesmerizing beauty of the Himalayas? Going round the Himalayas in a toy train is something no one will want to miss. There’s a wonderful place on the way while you are traveling in the Darjeeling toy train , quoted from the Official website of Darjeeling Government Website –
The Batasia loop situated almost 5 km away from the town is a gigantic railway loop where the Toy Train makes a 360 Degree turn. It was basically built to make it possible for the Toy Train to cut the deep ascend. Strategically located the Batasia Loop offers a panoramic view of the Kanchanjunga Range.A War Memorial constructed in the memory of the brave sons of the soil who laid down their lives in the different wars since the independence of the nation adds to its attraction.
If you are confused about which ride to take as there are many toy train services then let me help you with it. It all depends on what you want; if you want to experience longer ride and zig-zags more then I will suggest you take the train between NJP and Darjeeling. Another long ride route is between Kurseong and Darjeeling.
If you want to experience a shorter ride and want to enjoy the beauty of the Himalaya then take the most popular ride which is for duration of two hours; a round trip of 16kms. The train departs from Darjeeling Station, goes to Ghum (Ghum is India’s highest railway station, situated at an altitude of 2,258 meters), where it stops for some time so that the passengers can have a look at the DHR museum. Afterwards it goes to Batasia Loop, where again it halts for some time. From Batasia Loop one can get an awesome view of Kanchenjunga and also of the Darjeeling city.
Darjeeling toy train booking
You should book the ticket from the Darjeeling station or from online via the IRCTC , Official Indian railway website. As the joyride is a a round trip so in the source and destination fields of the online portal you have to enter station code as DJ ( means Darjeeling ) then for the destination also you have to select Darjeeling but as it doesn’t allow same station as both source and destination , you have to enter DJRZ ( again means Darjeeling ).
At present, the toy train rides for Darjeeling-Ghum round trip starts at 7:40am and the last train is at 4:20pm. There are total 18 trips. The latest fare is as followed:
- Diesel Engine Rides: Rs 800/-. (All first class seats).
- Steam Engine Rides: Rs 1300/-. (All first class seats).
So that was our first post on Mountain Railways of India, more places are yet to be covered by us. Meanwhile you can read about the bone chilling experience of ours at Nathula Pass here. Please let us know about your experiences . Do share, comment and follow us. Thank you.