Darjeeling is a town in the Indian state of West Bengal. Darjeeling is known for its exceptional natural beauty, hence, Darjeeling has earned the name "queen of hills." Darjeeling is famous for its tea gardens and the world-renowned Darjeeling black tea but that's not all it's known for. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is another iconic attraction and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Darjeeling Toy Train
The Darjeeling Toy train or Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, also known as the DHR, is a 2 ft (610 mm) gauge railway that runs between New Jalpaiguri Station (NJP) in Siliguri and Darjeeling in the Indian state of West Bengal. The Darjeeling toy train was built between the year 1879 and 1881 and is about 88 km (55 miles) long. The Darjeeling toy train climbs from 328 ft above sea level at New Jalpaiguri to about 7218 ft at Darjeeling using five loops and six zig-zags to gain altitude. Six diesel locomotives handle most of the scheduled service, with daily tourist Darjeeling toy trains from Darjeeling to Ghum.
Darjeeling toy train railway station is India's highest railway station. The Darjeeling toy train railway's headquarters are at Kurseong. The DHR runs a steam-hauled Red Panda service from Darjeeling to Kurseong. Steam-enthusiast specials are hauled by vintage British-built B-Class steam locomotives.
Taking a toy train ride during your visit to Darjeeling is worth it. The Darjeeling toy train ride offers a wonderful and mesmerizing view of Darjeeling and nearby places. Whenever you are riding in the Darjeeling toy train, you will pass by the villages of Darjeeling and local shops of Darjeeling and in and around places of Darjeeling. On the way, you will see street children enthusiastically waving at you as you take this relaxed and charming journey through the hills. A ride on the Darjeeling toy train provides a great opportunity to take some spectacular, scenic photos of Darjeeling.
You can enjoy the Darjeeling toy train rides in several ways. Although the diesel engines used these days are faster and more powerful, the original steam engines still operate in some sections. There are joy ride tours as well as regular transport services on the Darjeeling toy train. The steam loco drawn trains sometimes tend to skid in steep gradients. You can often see an attendant standing in front of the engine and sprinkling sand on the track to overcome such difficulties, particularly in monsoon time.
Toy Train at the station in Darjeeling
In Darjeeling, there are many other beautiful places to visit, but the Darjeeling toy train ride is a must. You can enjoy a round trip on the Darjeeling toy train, which is almost a 2-hour ride from Darjeeling to Ghum and back to Darjeeling via Batasia Loop. The ride on the Darjeeling toy covers a distance of 14 km. This is one of the round trips offered by the Darjeeling toy train. Such round trips start in the morning from Darjeeling and end in Darjeeling. The number of Darjeeling toy train rides depends upon the season. During the ride, the Darjeeling toy train stops for 25 minutes so that passengers can visit the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) Museum. The entry fee to the museum is included in the ticket price. The Darjeeling toy train stops for 10 minutes at Batasia Loop while returning from Ghum to Darjeeling. At Batasia, the Darjeeling toy train makes a loop around a wonderful manicured garden. The view of Darjeeling town and the snow peaks of Mt. Khangchendzonga on a clear day is visible from Batasia Loop. During the ride on the Darjeeling toy train, you can also see shops, stalls, and houses lined up along the track, sometimes giving you a feeling that there is hardly any space between the track and those structures.
Blog post: Top 10 places to visit in Darjeeling
For the timing and schedule of the Darjeeling toy train joyrides, you can visit the Indian Railways website. The timings and number of Darjeeling toy train joyrides do change depending on seasonal demands. There are two types of engines depending on your preference: you can avail of either a steam engine hauled Darjeeling toy train or one with a diesel engine Darjeeling toy train ride. The steam engine train of course offers the authentic experience of the heritage and the colonial aura when such toy trains were first created. But such rides are costlier too compared to diesel engine rides.
Instead of booking the Darjeeling train tickets at the last hour, it’s better to book the Darjeeling train tickets in advance because during peak season there is a lot of rush for Darjeeling toy train rides. So to book an advance ticket for the Darjeeling toy train ride, you can buy the tickets online through the Indian railway site. In case you do not get the tickets online for the Darjeeling toy train joyride then the alternative plan is to buy a Darjeeling train ticket early in the morning at the station or Book through TourGenie. The Darjeeling toy train operates between Darjeeling and Kurseong. The Darjeeling toy train also goes via Batasia and Ghum. But to go back to Darjeeling you need to get off at Ghum from Darjeeling toy train and take a reserved taxi or shared taxi, which are readily available and you can reach Darjeeling. But this will be a diesel engine hauled Darjeeling train not a steam engine but the experiences will be almost similar to the Darjeeling joyride.
Darjeeling Toy Train Joyride Fare (Fare updated: January 2021)
Diesel Engine Rides: Rs. 1000/-. All first-class seats.
Steam Engine Rides: Rs. 1600/-. All first-class seats.
Some pointers you need to know before you take the Darjeeling toy train ride:
1) The fares are for Darjeeling-Ghum-Darjeeling.
2) No concession in Darjeeling Toy Train Joy Rides for children of age 5 or above, neither to senior citizens. No tickets required for children below 5 years.
3) The fares of steam engine-pulled trains are higher because they represent the original heritage trains and their maintenance cost is also higher. Fares include admission to the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Ghum Museum.
4) A first-class coach has individual reclining seats and can accommodate up to 17 persons.
Darjeeling Tour packages