The Darjeeling toy train, officially known as the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, transports passengers through the lower reaches of the Eastern Himalayas to the rolling hills and lush green tea plantations of Darjeeling. Like most other hill settlements in India, Darjeeling was once a summer retreat of the British. The railway was completed in 1881. It's now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Darjeeling Toy Train Route
The train route runs for 80 kilometers (50 miles) from New Jalpaiguri, in the state of West Bengal, to Darjeeling via Siliguri, Kurseong, and Ghum. The railway line climbs up steeply through a number of fascinating reverses and loops. One of the most scenic of these is Batasia Loop, between Ghum and Darjeeling, which provides a panoramic view of Darjeeling perched on the hill and Mount Kanchenjunga in the background. The train also passes over 5 major, and nearly 500 minor, bridges.
Darjeeling Toy Train Services
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway operates a number of tourist train services. These are -
Daily Train Services -- historic diesel and 'B' Class steam locomotives with various combinations of first and second class carriages.
Joy Rides -- 'B' Class steam locomotives which take passengers on short trips from Darjeeling to Ghum return, and Siliguri Junction to Sukna return.
Jungle Safari Holiday Trains -- locomotives which run from Siliguri to Tindharia return, with the highlights being views of the picturesque Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary and "Z" reverses (where the train zigzags forwards and backwards up the slope).