Toy Trains

Joy-Ride Up the Hills

Indian is surrounded in the North by Hills of Himalayan Range. The beauties of these hills are breathtaking. Indian Railways started exploring these hills way back in 18th Century and connected many hill stations within easy reach of passengers. Over the period of time now these railways are of the heritage importance also and Indian Railways is trying to keep the in as far as possible in original shape and order. If somebody likes the adventure of hills and ride of trains,  then there is nothing better than to take a slow toy train up to the hill resorts of Shimla, Ooty (Udhangamandalam), Darjeeling or Matheran.

There is nothing to match the experience of chugging up the hills, past little hamlets and terraced fields, making your way through tunnels and over breathtaking bridges. Its leisurely pace offers you a panoramic view of changing vistas. The invigorating air and the delights of scenic hill resorts provide a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Having ride through these trains is a wonderful experience that one must get atleast once in the lifetime. Four slow speed historic toy train services are currently operating in India.

The Shimla Toy Train

The Shimla toy train passes through 107 tunnels, picturesque view of hills and lofty arched bridges on the way from Kalka to Shimla. The train runs on broad gauge. The 6 hours journey of 96 km covers dazzling view of Dharampore, Taksal, Gamma and Solan.

One of the most scenic train journeys in India enlivens passengers on a journey onto snake like narrow track, though mystical mountains and pine forests. The Shivalik Deluxe Express connects the Howarh - Kalka mail for passenger going to Shimla. The luxury train, the Shivalik Express has an attached tourist coach called the Shivalik Palace and the Shivalik Queen for the honeymoon couples.

The Darjeeling Toy Train

The most famous of the little trains, is the Darjeeling Toy Train linking the town of New Jalpaiguri in the plains to the lovely hill station of Darjeeling. The journey in Darjeeling toy train through the rolling hills of the EasternHimalayas and lush green tea plantations of Darjeeling is most joyful for all ages of travelers. The original track which is still maintained is  a 2 ft gauge, the Darjeeling Hill Railway is indeed a 'toy train', being the narrowest of the regular narrow gauges. The tiny century-old engine is a connoisseur's delight. The 86-km long Darjeeling line has no tunnels, thus allowing the traveller an uninterrupted view of the breathtaking scenery of the Himalayas. The seven-and-a-half hour ride up, is a journey especially for rail buffs. The toy train to Darjeeling was started during British raj in 1881.
The seven-and-a-half hour train ride of 80 kilometers from New Jalpaiguri to the lovely Darjeeling passes through Siliguri, Kurseong, and Ghum. This famous little train runs on just 2 ft gauge track, narrowest of all the regular narrow gauges. The travelers enjoy the landscape view of the Himalayas.

The Nilgiri Toy Train

The Nilgiri Mountain Railway toy train started in 1899 and travels from the town of Mettupalayam and thus begins a journey full of twists and turns, as this narrow gauge train ascends 46-km., on its way to the hill resort of Ooty. At a maximum speed of 33-km per hour, this 'toy train' treks across plains, plantations and forest clad hills. The 16 tunnels and tall girder bridges on the way, along with the breathtaking view, make this toy train journey to Ooty. The breathtaking view of the beautiful train journey to Ooty should not to be missed.

The Matheran Toy Train

The 77-year-old line, connecting Neral to Matheran, is the foremost way to reach the tiny hill resort, Matheran, close to Mumbai.  As a little train wheezes up into the clear mountain air, one can view the scenic vista of hills and plains below. The lack of vehicular traffic at Matheran makes it an unusual and peaceful retreat. The journey up to Matheran from Neral takes about one-and-a-half hours. The toy train runs between sunrise and sunset.

Toy Train Reservations

The reservations for regular travel as well as joyrides can be made either at Indian Railways computerized reservation counters, or on the Indian Railwayswebsite.