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Darjeeling Toy Train: History, Experience and All Useful Information

Did you know that Darjeeling Toy Train or Darjeeling Himalayan Railway has been conferred heritage status by UNESCO?

This train runs from NJP station to the township of Darjeeling and covers a distance of 88 Km. A visit to Darjeeling is never complete without experiencing a joyride on the toy train. The diesel engines could easily be 100 years old and although the ride is not as fast as your usual car ride, there is a certain sense of nostalgia and pride in riding these age-old compartments.

The-Darjeeling-Himalayan-Railway
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway

Darjeeling Toy Train: Quick Facts 

Darjeeling Toy train is a moving story in itself. The toy train is sheer nostalgia and more but it is also a number of other interesting things that we have listed below!

Maiden Trip

The famous toy train of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway had made its first trip in the year 1880.

Tiny Compartments

The compartments are the size of small buses and the narrow rail tracks have a gap of 2 feet between them.

Dual Engines

There are two kinds of engines running at the same time. The century-old steam engines run on coal and are really slow. The diesel engines are the latest additions and they can pull much faster.

World Heritage Site

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway was given the status of a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the year 1999.

 

Toy Train Experience

While going uphill from NJP, there are three basic routes to reach Darjeeling through toy trains. Although these routes are faster and will save your time, there is nothing like taking the toy train up to Darjeeling. The experience is nothing short of legendary.

You can view the entire landscape, lush green valleys and sprawling tea estates more closely when you board this gem of engineering, the Darjeeling Toy Train. Since the journey is slow and steady, the photographer in you will cherish the innumerable moments of photography while riding the toy train.

One of the most spectacular views while going uphill in the toy train will, most definitely, be Batasia Loop.

Kanchenjunga-as-seen-from-Darjeeling-in-Spring
Kanchenjunga as seen from Darjeeling

Darjeeling Toy Train: Nostalgia of Colonial Rule

Not everything from the British Era has nightmarish memories. Some have nice and lasting memories and one of those things is the Darjeeling toy train. The sights sound and smells that you come across while riding a toy train is unparallel. Although the steam engines have lost a lot of their charm, the addition of diesel engines has made some difference to the speed.

However, the toy train continues to run at the pace of a snail. The most interesting bit of the train is the fact that it passes through steep slopes and sharp curves with such skills that you cannot help but marvel at the ingenuity behind creating these masterpieces.

From One Loop To Another: Darjeeling Toy Train Makes Its Way Through The Hills

The toy train runs from New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling and passes areas like Siliguri, Kurseong and Ghoom in between. Darjeeling happens to be the topmost point of the route and is located at an altitude of 7,400 feet above sea level. The toy train literally sways through the enticing loops on the hill ways.

One such loop is the Batasia Loop that is situated between Ghoom Station and Darjeeling. From this point, you can experience a stunning view of the town of Darjeeling nestled in the lap of hills and the majestic Mount Kanchenjunga in the backdrop.

The-Joyride-on-the-way-to-Darjeeling
The Joyride on the way to Darjeeling

You will be amazed to know that this really old framework of the toy train crosses 5 significant bridges and 500 smaller bridges on its way!

There are three different routes of the Darjeeling toy train. While two of them are mostly meant for recreational purposes, two others are the usual routes that locals take to travel from NJP to Darjeeling.

Darjeeling Toy Train Joyride: From Darjeeling to Ghum Station And Back

Darjeeling is 14 Km away from Ghum and the round trip takes close to 2 hours to complete. On its way from Darjeeling to Ghum, the train usually stops for 10 minutes at Batasia Loop.

This Loop surrounds a well-maintained garden inside which you will be able to see a War Memorial. On reaching Ghoom station at 7407 feet, the train halts for 30 minutes. In this duration, you can take a stroll inside the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Museum. You do not need to pay an entry fee since that is already included in the train fare.

Ghum-Highest-Railway-Station-in-India
Ghum, India’s Highest Railway Station

Did you know that the oldest Darjeeling toy train is called ‘The Baby Sivok’? 🙂

Darjeeling Toy Train Joyride: Train Timings And Fare

Although we recommend you to book your joyride well in advance since peak seasons tend to cause an unwanted rush, there are several schedules that you can choose from if you have not pre-booked your seat. The first train starts at 7:40 AM and the last train runs at 4:20 PM. In between, 18 rides go back and forth. You can choose between a steam engine ride and a diesel engine ride.

A steam engine ride is more expensive than a diesel engine ride.

Train Fare

Steam Engine: Rs. 1405/-. This is for first-class seats only.

Diesel Engine: Rs. 805/-. All seats are first-class seats.

Booking Joyride Trains

Booking joyride trains is as simple as booking any other train in Darjeeling. You can book online as well as queue up at the counters for offline booking.

Jungle Safari of Darjeeling Toy Train: From Siliguri To Rangtong and Back

This round trip takes 3 hours to complete. It takes 16 Km from Siliguri Junction to reach Rangtong Station. Leaving at 10:30 AM from Siliguri Junction, the train passes Sukna and reaches its destination, Rangtong at around 11: 50 AM. The train halts for 20 minutes at Rangtong and goes back to Siliguri by 1:35 PM.

Jungle-Safari-of-Darjeeling-Toy-Train
Jungle Safari of Darjeeling Toy Train

The primary motive of the Jungle Safari is to take you through the intimidating yet stunning Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary that is situated around Sukna. For wildlife enthusiasts and photographers, this sanctuary is a visual treat.

Jungle Safari Fare

The round trip from Siliguri to Rangtong and back in a steam engine will cost you Rs. 1200/- and in a diesel engine will cost you Rs. 540/-

Usual Toy Train Rides From NJP To Darjeeling

These trains run every day during the peak season. The train departs at 8:30 AM and reaches the township of Darjeeling at 3:35 PM. It takes close to 7 hours to complete this trip but you can always expect slight or major delays in the trip timing.

There are a total of 9 stops between NJP and Darjeeling. These stops are Sukna, Tindharia, Gayabari, Mahanadi, Kurseong, Tung, Sonada and Ghum. This train ride is usually sustained by a diesel engine. Food is not served on the train but since external food is allowed, you can bring along your own refreshments on board. During peak seasons, extra coaches are added to the toy trains.

Are There Toilet Facilities In The Toy Train?

Unfortunately, most coaches do not have toilet facilities. You could use the station toilets when the trains halt. You could also find toilets in adjacent compartments.

Darjeeling Toy Train From Kurseong To Darjeeling

The first train departs at 3 Pm from Kurseong and reaches Darjeeling at 5:50 PM. The total distance that the toy train covers is around 31 Km. The return train from Darjeeling departs at 10:15 Am and reaches at Kurseong at 13:10 PM.

A regular school train runs from Kurseong to Darjeeling. The diesel engine run train leaves at 6:30 AM from Kurseong and reaches Darjeeling at 9:05 Am. The return train leaves at 4 Pm from Darjeeling and reaches at 6:30 Pm in Darjeeling.

The-Joyride-through-Kurseong
The Joyride through Kurseong

A special steam engine toy train runs particularly on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from Darjeeling to Kurseong and back. The train is popularly known as Red Panda and both the coaches are first class. The train departs at 9:15 Am from Darjeeling and reaches Kurseong by 12:30 Pm. The return train departs at 2 Pm from Kurseong and reaches Darjeeling by 5:45 Pm.

Toy trains do not have much luggage space. Please do not carry heavy luggage that might over occupy seats and overhead spaces unnecessarily.

Regular Toy Trains And Their Fares

While First class seats are more comfortable, Second class coaches have more seats and this occupies more passengers. First class coaches in toy trains have seats that are individual and recline like chair cars. In Second class coaches, the seats do not recline and may be joined together.

 

ROUTE

 

 

FIRST CLASS FARE

 

SECOND CLASS FARE

 

 

AC COACHES

 

DARJEELING TO NJP

 

 

RS. 1295/-

 

NA

 

RS. 1555/-

 

DARJEELING TO GHUM

 

 

RS. 410/-

 

RS. 30/-

 

NA

 

DARJEELING TO SONADA

 

 

RS. 535/-

 

RS. 45/-

 

 

 

NA

 

DARJEELING TO TUNG

 

 

RS. 555/-

 

RS. 45/-

 

NA

DARJEELING TO KURSEONG  

RS. 680/-

 

RS. 60/-

 

 

 

NA

Toy Train Reservations

You can make all these reservations online on the Indian Railways website. While this is an online reservation, you can also make offline reservations from counters. The station code for Darjeeling is DJ and the station code for New Jalpaiguri is NJP. You will have to select your place of departure and your destination in the online form.

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is one of the oldest, iconic systems in the country and it is worth a visit on your next trip to the Queen of Hills!

So, hopefully, you got everything that wanted to know about The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway

 

4 Pointers on Us: Nomadic Weekends
  1. We are retired, corporate people. So, we have taken a lot of stress and we understand what a holiday means to you
  2. We have a team that is travelling on the streets of Darjeeling to find out great stay options
  3. We have ourselves experienced these places and we can guarantee a great stay for you
  4. Unlike others, we are never about dhobi list of options. We are the shortlist by the travellers just like you.
Why go Offbeat? 

Away from super congested Darjeeling city

Close to nature

Mindblowing locations

All modern amenities

Perfect Chillout. Guaranteed.

Here are a few great options to stay at Darjeeling. You will not find them everywhere.

Darjeeling Offbeat Stay Options: 

Click on the Image or Link below to explore More.

Tea-Garden-Retreat-Maldiram
Tea Garden Retreat Maldiram
Rishop-Valley-Retreat
Rishop Valley Retreat

Here are a few other articles that you may like reading

Darjeeling Weather And Temperature: All Your Questions Answered

8 Awesome Things to Do in Darjeeling Which You Just Cannot Miss!

15 Tourist Places Near Darjeeling that You Must Include in Your Darjeeling Tour

If you are finding these interesting, here 25 such awesome unknown and offbeat Destinations Near Darjeeling. Do check out. You won’t waste your time.

Check out Nomadic Weekends site here.

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