Time speeds by every time you embark on a journey on your usual Express train or Local train. The more you ponder outside the window the reminiscence of nature speeding by is lost somewhere in time. Have you ever desired to simply slow down time during your journey? Wondered how it would be like to enjoy every facet of the gorgeous greenery of nature, an extravaganza for the eyes. Relax and delight yourself with the slow yet cool breeze stroking your forehead. Then the gorgeous ride in some of the most scenic toy train journeys in India might just be the thing you are looking for. Embark on a journey with your loved ones in some of the most famous hillside tourist destinations in India. Relish all that nature has to provide as the while listening to the humming of your toy train engine.
Indian Toy trains are actual trains which are predominantly smaller than their more known counterparts at the Indian Railways. These are built specifically for the purpose of serving a means of transportation on steep hills and mountain sides. Their miniaturized design was come up with during the British era in the early 20th century. These are actual trains that are small in size running on narrower tracks and can take about 8 whole hours to reach a destination. The first toy train was introduced by the Darjeeling Mountain railways and was referred to as a “Toy Train” by the residents in Darjeeling. These trains cover the teal hills between Himalaya and Tamil Nadu, and was meant to replace the ‘then’ means of transport such as Hiking and Pull carts.
Now, tourists from all over India and the world cannot leave a Hill station without taking a ride on our gorgeous and famous toy trains that provide a beautiful experience for all to take home. Let us now take a rip through the various famous toy trains in India so that you can plan your next trip to the nearest Indian hill station with delight.
Some of India’s Most Scenic Toy Train Journeys For the Bucket List
- Kalka-Shimla Railways Station, Himachal Pradesh
- Darjeeling Himalayam Railway, West Bengal
- Nilgiri Mountain Railway, Tamil Nadu
- Matheran Hill Railway, Maharashtra
- Kangra Valley Railway, Himachal Pradesh
1. Kalka-Shimla Railways Station, Himachal Pradesh
The truly majestic yet historic train station which was once the British summer capital, is the Kalka Shimla Toy train. Enlisted as a world heritage by UNESCO, taking a trip to Shimla on this joy ride is like booking a ticket back in time. Constructed back in 1903, this journey is surely one of the most gorgeous trips you can ever hope for. It is situated in the North of the city of Chandigarh, surrounded by the picturesque mountain ranges in Himachal Pradesh. If you buy ticket for a journey on this historic ride then it would take you 96 kilometres to experience at least 20 different stations, a 103 tunnels, about 800 bridges, and approximately 900 curves, in order to reach Shimla. The entire journey would take about 5 hours to complete. However, the trip from Borog comprises of most the scenic delights.
2. Darjeeling Himalayam Railway, West Bengal
Known throughout the world as a UNESCO enlisted heritage sight and one the most awesome engineer marvels, the Darjeeling Toy train can be considered Darjeeling’s pride. Other than their superb tea gardens, of course. It is one of India’s oldest toy trains, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway was established back in 1881. It is meant you take you on colourful journey from the eastern Himalayas and through the lush and bountiful tea gardens of Shimla. It is one of the few remaining marvels of the world that still runs on a steam engine and is meant to take you on a 2000m climb between Siliguri and the Darjeeling tea plantations. A fun fact about the DHR is that it was once used by the British as a pot to transport tea to all parts of the world.
3. Nilgiri Mountain Railway, Tamil Nadu
Once established as the summer headquarters of the British Government in Madras, Nilgiri Mountain Railways is surely the prime attraction at Ooty. It was first open for business in 1885 and was later declared a UNESCO world heritage site back in 2005. Your journey on the toy train of Ooty hill station starts from the Mettupalayam and takes you all the way up to Udagamandalam via route through Coonoor in the Nilgiri Hills. It is known to be the only toy train in India running on a meter gauge rack which is also called a cog railway. Only in recent years was the coal-fired steam locomotive was replaced by an oil-fired steam engine. The track runs you through 250 bridges and 16 tunnels, with the best views concentrated along the Metupalaiyam to Coonoor stretch.
4. Matheran Hill Railway, Maharashtra
Enjoy a peaceful and pollution free journey on board the century old Matheran Hill Railway where all vehicles, including bicycles are banned. Also, a member of the 5 historic toy trains in India and a UNESCO heritage site, the railway had its first run in 1907 and travels on a zigzag route of about 20 kilometres taking you up the hill from Neral, all the way to Matheran. You can purchase refreshments and enjoy a slow moving journey while enjoying the fresh air and nature’s beauty.
5. Kangra Valley Railway, Himachal Pradesh
First competed back in 1929, it is known to be the last mountain railway to be built in India. This railways station is sure to make your mind pull back and relax as it is the journey that matters, not the destination. The Kangra Valley Railway starts from Pathankot and takes on a 64 kilometer journey a way up to Kangra Valley in Himachal Pradesh. The Kangra Valley Railway is slightly different from all of the other toy trains in India, in the respect that it takes you through only two tunnels as the engineers wished to not borrow through the mountains. Enjoy the rich scenery on your journey via Kangra that stretches all the way up to Palampur, taking you through lush greenery, rich farmlands as well as the Dhauladhar mountain range.
These 5 historic toy train journeys in India is sure to keep your eyes fixed to the outside world for all travellers who wish to enjoy a getaway in India’s most majestic mountain ranges. Not only do you get to enjoy nature at it’s best but also relax in a pollution free atmosphere while the most gorgeous of scenery, slowly yet steadily, passes you by
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