Darjeeling Toy Train: An Ultimate Travel Guide 2020

Darjeeling Toy Train: An Ultimate Travel Guide 2020

Anjali May 13, 2020 Articles

Riding the Darjeeling Himalayan Railways (DHR), Toy Train which is famously known as the “Darjeeling Toy Train” has always been a desirable experience to cherish for the tourists. The visitors to this tourist place would never wish to let go this wonderful opportunity to encounter the adventure of “Darjeeling Toy Train”. This toy train was completed in 1881 and has been labeled by UNESCO World Heritage status in 1999 that makes it remarkable among tourists.

Darjeeling Toy Traffic Park

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is a 2 feet narrow gauge toy train that runs between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling, in West Bengal, India. It is constructed over 88 Km long railway line that accords the train ride indeed a coveted experience for the tourists. The journey en route offers amazing sight-seeing places with pleasant hills landscape and, views of villages and local shops on its way with children on the street waving at you.

From New Jalpaiguri which is located just above sea level, the Darjeeling Toy Train is one of the last remaining narrow-gauge charmers in the world that ascends 7,000 vertical feet (2,000m) to Darjeeling. The train journey covers 55 miles of railway track line, largely tracing historic Hill Cart Road.

The Darjeeling Toy Train en-route passes through Mark Twain, foggy forests and stops at several highest railway stations in the world. Operating on narrow gauge tracks, this toy train carries passengers through the lower plains of the Eastern Himalayas to the undulating hills and lush green tea plantations of Darjeeling. Thereby, offering a heavenly way of absorbing the Himalayan beauty as you traverse along the slopes of the hills.

The DHR Toy Train offers joy ride tours as well as regular transport services on toy trains. So, you can enjoy the toy train rides in respective ways.

Here, at DHR you can find a small steam engine pulling mini coaches up the steep mountains through breathtaking curves which shows the use of absolute creative skills and sheer engineering ingenuity.

The Darjeeling toy train is a prestigious heritage site as it provided the most important mountain transportation link for the very first time in the country. Being a prestigious site it provides a beautiful ride equally on such a heritage transport that is certainly a relaxing and appealing journey through the hills.

Location, Route Options & Map

The Darjeeling Toy Train starts at the New Jalpaiguri Station and goes all the way to Darjeeling covering a distance of 88kms. The train route runs from New Jalpaiguri, in the state of West Bengal to Darjeeling via Siliguri, Kurseong, and Ghoom. Ghoom is the highest point on the route at an altitude of 7,404 ft.

DHR Route Map

Toy Trains of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) run along the narrow gauge track passing through some of the most scenic mountain routes in the world. Mostly, the track line runs parallel with the Hill Cart Road and at many points’ even intersects it.

As the train has to ascend to such a height in about 80kms distance, it climbs up steeply through sharp mountain gradients, more than 870 curves & loops on the way. The most scenic is the Batasia loop between Ghoom and Darjeeling and the sharpest curve along the track has a radius of 69 feet. The train passes over 5 major bridges and more than 450 minor bridges.

New Jalpaiguri railway station is close to Siliguri, West Bengal and is well connected to other parts of the country by road and rail. The nearby airport is just about 20 minutes away in Bagdogra. Siliguri is about 35 Kms from Kurseong and 65 Kms from Darjeeling.

Darjeeling Toy Train History

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) is a narrow-gauge rail line in the state of West Bengal, India which was built between 1879 and 1881. By the 1870s, Darjeeling had already become a well known hill station. That was the time when India was under British colonial rule. The British men with their families used to come to Darjeeling on vacations.
On March 4, 1881, the Indian Viceroy at that time, Lord Lytton inaugurated the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway by riding the first leg of the journey from Siliguri to Tindharia.

The implementation of such a novel railway was done by Franklin Prestage, the agent of Eastern Bengal Railways who was the first to move the proposal to the British government. The rail line is built on a 2-foot-wide (610mm) narrow gauge track, which is nearly a third of the size of the 5’6″ (1,676 mm) track used throughout most of India.

The railway line was originally constructed with the aim to transport the goods from the hot and humid lowlands to the substantially cooler hill station of Darjeeling in the Himalayan foothills.

Later with time, the rail line became a key source of shipping tea from high elevations to the rest of the world.

Ticket Costs & How to book

While in Darjeeling, everyone wishes to ride the heritage toy train of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR). The DHR Toy Train offers the opportunity to experience breathtaking beauties of the Himalayas as you take a relaxed ride on a narrow gauge track.

The ticket prices to book the Toy Train are categorized as below:

1. Toy Train Joyride Fare (round trip fares Darjeeling-Ghum-Darjeeling: First Class seats):

  • Diesel Engine Rides: Rs. 1000/-
  • Steam Engine Rides: Rs. 1,600/-

2. Toy Train Jungle safari (Siliguri-Rangtong Round Trip): Rs. 540/-
3. Regular DHR Toy Train Fares: First Class seats

  • Darjeeling to NJP: Rs. 1420.00/-
  • Darjeeling to Ghum: Rs. 450/-
  • Darjeeling to Sonada: Rs. 590/-
  • Darjeeling to Tung: Rs. 610/-
  • Darjeeling to Kurseong: Rs. 750/-

The Darjeeling Toy Train is like any other normal train and the process of booking the seats for joyrides are similar. You can book the Toy Train tickets online in advance through Indian Railways official booking website, irctc.co.in or at any computerized reservation counters.

DHR Train information

The station code for New Jalpaiguri is NJP, and Darjeeling DJ. For joyrides from Darjeeling you’ll have to book with DJ as the “from” station and DJR as the “to” station. The tickets can sell out fast, so it is advisable to book in advance, as the trains fill up quickly in peak season.

What to see during Darjeeling Toy Train ride

The DHR is one of the last remaining 2 feet narrow-gauge tracks in the world, between Siliguri and the tea plantations of Darjeeling.

Through your joyride you will pass through distinct stretches of scenery, dense forests from Sukna station to Rongtong and tea gardens to Kurseong.

The train passes through many small hill towns, villages and shops. The zig-zag route has many steep gradients and sometimes the engine goes into reverse gear. The climb is done through 5 reverses and 3 loops of 360 degrees to climb high slopes

You will get to have the most amazing views of the Himalayas, when the train reaches Kurseong, at 4,800 ft. This is a breathtaking view of the snow-capped peaks of Mount Kanchenjunga.

There are three railway museums located en route- at Sukna, Kurseong, and Ghoom stations. The train loops around a manicured garden at Batasia that offers a beautiful picturesque of the hills and a War Memorial built at the center of the garden in honour of the Gurkha soldiers.

Places to visit in Darjeeling

Darjeeling is a perfect getaway to spend your vacation between snowy and mighty Himalayan ranges, valleys, tea gardens, monastery, Toy Trains and much more.

While in Darjeeling, you must visit this list of tourist places:

Tiger Hill: Tiger Hill is the most famous mountain peak in Darjeeling. It provides a complete package of adventure and fun for a nature lover. You can climb up the Tiger hill to witness the charismatic sunrise and panoramic views of Mt. Everest and Kanchenjunga.

Tiger Hills Darjeeling

Batasia Loop: You can admire the view of the toy train pathway that was brought into existence to reduce the elevation of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. Set amidst the lush green mountainside, it offers beautiful views of the valley and snowy abode of Mt. Kanchenjunga. When the toy train crosses its way through the loops of the track, everything about this place seems dreamy.

Padmaja Naidu Zoological Park: This place is amongst the popular places in Darjeeling. This zoological Park is spread across an area of 65.56 acres and is home to some of the most endangered species of animals in India, including snow leopard, red pandas, and Himalayan Salamanders.

St. Andrew’s Church: If you want to observe the architectural Marvel, St. Andrew Church is perfect to pay a visit in Darjeeling especially for architecture lovers and spirituals. It was built during the colonial era and carries that old-world charm that attracts a number of tourists all year round.

Ghoom Monastery: Situated at a grand elevation of 8,000 feet, the Ghoom Monastery is the oldest Tibetan Buddhist Monastery of Darjeeling and is worth paying a visit. There is a 15-foot high statue of Maitreyi Buddha in the central hall, made entirely of clay brought from Tibet. You can please your eyes with the vibrant colors of this monastery.

Ghum Monastery Darjeeling

Rock Garden: The Rock Garden is located around 10 Km away from the main city. It is an artificial garden whose beauty is accentuated by waterfalls, lush green hill side and flora and fauna. You can pay a visit to this popular picnic spot with your friends and family and have a wonderful time.

Nightingale Park: Earlier called as ‘The Shrubbery’ this park is famous for a giant statue of Lord Shiva, a musical fountain along with the magnetic scenery of Kanchenjunga. You can relax & roam around this public park to enjoy nature’s beauty peacefully. It is one of the most visited places by the tourists in Darjeeling.

Happy Valley Tea Estate: This tea estate is spread over an area of 437 acres, and is one of the major places to see in Darjeeling. The place is home to one of the highest tea factories in the world. In 1854, the first tea factory was established by an Englishman and it still continues to flourish under the care of Indian aristocracy from Hooghly. It is recommended to pay a visit to this aromatic vast tea estate.

Peace Pagoda: For a Peaceful gateway, this place is perfect to pay a visit in Darjeeling. It is a Buddhist shrine which is a part of 30 similar structures located around the world. This white-colored edifice is accentuated with gold painted sculptures, which are the highlight of the entire Pagoda. The Peace Pagoda is worth a visit during the daily pujas.

Peace Pagoda Darjeeling

Bengal Natural History Museum: This is the perfect place, if you want to explore the fauna of the Himalayas. It is one of the most prominent museums depicting history and nature’s beauty. It is a plethora of indigenous flora and fauna in the region with more than 4000 specimens.

Bhutia Busty Monastery: You can admire this place against mighty peaks, situated in the Bhutia Colony. The Monastery was built in 1761 by the Lama Dorje Rinzing, however, this place was plundered and rebuilt many times. For this reason, it is considered to be quite a favorite spot for tourists, and its rich history attracts a lot of them.

Dali Monastery: The Dali Monastery is well-known for its Buddhism murals, paintings, documents, and records. Its ambiance is filled with peaceful and relaxing vibrations. If you want to learn about their religion, culture and Buddha Teachings, you must head over to this place.

Tinchuley: Tinchuley is a paradise for nature lovers. It is a small but beautiful hamlet tucked away from the main city, popularly known for its tea plantations, fruit orchards, meandering rivers of Teesta and Ranjeet, its misty weather to stunning sunsets, beautiful views of the Himalayas. You can treat your eyes with mesmerizing views.

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