Officially known as Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, the Toy Train ride is one of the most exciting adventures. In 1999, it was declared as the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The toy train carries passengers from the lower Himalayan region to lush mountains and undulating hills. It travels on a narrow-gauge over the course.
The toy train ride is an experience of heritage, the marvel of engineering, and one of the perfect ways to adore the natural beauty of this popular hill town. Darjeeling Himalayan Railway started its operation around 1881. It is one of the few hill railways operating in India. Traveling to Darjeeling feels even better when you board this hill train.
En route, you can also get a glimpse of Batasia Loop, which is one of the most picturesque places you will come across during your journey. The train ride takes you through the 5 major and 500 minor bridges. Further, the train passes through some lush green hills, jungles, and tea farms of Darjeeling. The mesmerizing view of snow-covered Himalayan peaks and the world’s third-highest peak, Kanchenjunga would surely leave you awestruck. Tourists from all parts of the globe come here to enjoy the wonderful ride.
Types of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Trains
There are three types of tourist trains run by Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. Here is the detailed information about the trains:
Regular Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Toy Train services
The diesel engine toy train service is available for tourists. It is one of the popular train rides, which takes travelers from New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling. These trains usually comprise one first-class coach and one AC car coach along with a luggage van to store luggage. During the peak season, extra coaches may also get attached. Recently, new Vistadome air-conditioned carriages joined the train, which offers a unique experience.
The regular toy trains travel from New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling via Siliguri, Sukna, Rangtong, Tindharia, Gayabari, Mahanadi, Kurseong, Tung, Sonada, and Ghoom. It stopped at Kurseong for 10 minutes and at other stations, it stopped for a minute only.
How to reach New Jalpaiguri
The nearest airport from New Jalpaiguri is Bagdogra Airport, which is situated at 18 km. It is well connected with the major cities of the country by railhead and good road network.
Fares - The fare of the regular toy train from New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling in first class is INR 1420 and in AC chair car is INR 1700.
Note: The first-class coaches are available in all the trains, however, second class is available in limited regular trains.
Toy Train Joy Rides
The toy train joy rides start from Darjeeling railway station and take 2 hours to complete the journey. There are two options of the joy rides and you can choose according to your preference either a steam engine hauled toy train or one with a diesel engine. The steam engine train ride is most in demand, as it recreates the authentic experience of the heritage and the colonial aura when such toy trains were first created.
The train journey takes you through Batasia Loop and Ghoom. This route runs for 14 km and the highest point of the train journey is the Ghoom, which is located at 2,255 m above sea level. The train passes over more than 870 curves along with exhilarating reverses and loops.
How to reach Darjeeling
New Jalpaiguri railway station is the nearest railhead from Darjeeling, which is well-connected with the major cities of the country. The nearest airport from Darjeeling is Bagdogra Airport, which is situated at 68 km railway station. The city has a good road network and is easily accessible from the nearby towns and cities.
The ticket prices for the Darjeeling Toy Train are - for a steam engine train it costs INR 1,600 for a first-class ticket whereas the diesel engine train cost INR 1.000 in first class. The entry fee to Ghoom Museum is included in the fare.
- The above fares are the round trip price for Darjeeling – Ghoom – Darjeeling.
- Train stops for 25 minutes at Darjeeling railway station so that tourists can visit Darjeeling Himalayan Museum. The ticket to the museum is included in the train fare.
- No tickets are required for children below 5 years. However, no concession in toy train for children above 5 years and neither to senior citizens.
The journey starts from Siliguri Junction and takes 3 hours to complete the round trip. Safari trains take you through the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary and offer a breathtaking view of the Rangtong and Tindharia. The train consists of two to three coaches depending on the demand. The trains running on this route comprise diesel and steam locomotives.
Safari trains run from Siliguri to Rangtong to Siliguri and cover the 32 km of distance in 3 hours. The jungle safari is a retreat for nature lovers and tourists can enjoy the scenic vistas from the train. The highlight of the safari train is Mahananda Sanctuary and the railway museum at Sukna.
How to reach Siliguri
Bagdogra Airport serves as the primary airport to the city, which is located 15 minutes from the railway station. Siliguri railhead is well-connected with the major cities of the country. By road network, the city is easily accessible from nearby towns.
Fares - The cost of the morning safari of the AC chair car is INR 700 and for the first class is INR 590. And for the afternoon safari, the fare of the AC chair car is INR 1200 and for the first class in INR 1000.
Note: The train has one general coach with a capacity of 17 persons and one dining car with a capacity of 12 persons. Tourists can relish delicious meals onboard.
Best time to visit Darjeeling Toy Train Ride
The peak season for Darjeeling Toy Train ride is October to December when the region experiences pleasant weather, which allows tourists to enjoy comfortable rides. In this season, there are more than 10 daily joy ride services available. However, the monsoon season from July to mid-September and months of January and February are considered as low season, only four joy train rides services are available.
How to book a Toy Train ticket
The reservations of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway toy train can be made by online or offline method. The tickets can be booked at Indian Railways reservation counters all over India, or on the Indian Railways (IRCTC) official website.
Tips: It is advisable to book the tickets in advance as the chances of getting tickets on the spot are less due to high demand.