The toy trains in India deserve a special mention, not just because of the small size and enjoyable ride but also because of the history associated with them. Although these trains are slow, they take you on some of the most scenic journeys of your life. Many of them are also recognised as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Since these trains run slow, you get ample time to soak in the gorgeous views of your surroundings, and this is what makes these journeys really worthwhile. Let’s have a look at some of the must-enjoy toy trains running in India.
Railway lines that were built in the mountains of India are known as Mountain railways of India and are typically narrow-gauge railways. Most of them have been assigned the status of UNESCO World Heritage because of the history attached to them. These trains are referred to as Toy trains, but they are excellent examples of bold engineering solutions to create useful rail links in the mountainous terrain. Many of them run on historic railway lines that were built by the British during the late 19th century and early 20th century.
There are a couple of mountain railways that have been converted to the nationwide standard of broad gauge.
As these trains run on narrow tracks with small-sized engines, they are popularly known as Toy Trains. It is a joy to travel in these toy trains that run on the narrow gauge line. The prime objective behind these trains is not just transportation but also as a means for the tourists to enjoy the scenic beauty. These trains serve as a tourist attraction. So, mostly tourists use these trains and their demand goes up during the tourist season massively. It is a joy to ride these trains and traverse through green mountains and valleys and enjoy spectacular views on the way. As you embark an exciting journey in these toy trains, you enjoy the gentle sway of steam locomotives. It is like a magical gateway that takes one on an extraordinary journey deep inside the mountains, meandering through the valleys, making accents and descents chugging up and down the hills. You pass over some chugging up hills and make your way through tunnels on these heritage trains of India.
Here are some of the most popular toy trains running in different parts of India.
This toy train runs between Kalka and Shimla and covers a distance of about 100 km in five hours. The train starts ascending from Kalka station and goes through 102 tunnels and 87 bridges to reach Shimla, which is at the height of more than 2000 meters. This toy train is highly recommended for all tourists visiting Shimla, as one gets to enjoy picturesque views of the valley during the ride. At Barog, one enters the longest tunnel, and thereafter it is a steep climb to Shimla. Book hotels in shimla for comfortable stay!
Read More : Shimla with kids: A guide
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway runs on one of the oldest train routes that have been operating since 1881. The Toy train at Darjeeling runs from New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling and takes about seven hours to complete its journey. On the route, it crosses the highest railway station in India, Ghum station, which is located at the height of more than 7000 feet. The train journey will take you through breath-taking valleys, and you are indeed rewarded with one of the most unforgettable train rides of your life. Enjoy picturesque views of nature as the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway makes a steep climb, goes through several reverses and loops on the way and the route is popular because of its signage at key vantage points. Enjoy your joureny with comfortable stay at Darjeeling.
The toy train runs between Mettupalayam and Udagamandalam and covers a short distance of 46 km in only about five hours. Udagamandalam is more popularly known as Ooty, and this is why the Nilgiri Mountain Railway is also known as Ooty toy train. The train route is a very old one established in 1908. It took lots of time and efforts to cut through the thick and hilly forests to make ways for the Ooty toy train. The toy train passes through 250 bridges and 16 tunnels as it meanders through lavish green valleys and steep curves. You also pass through the famous Coonoor town well known for its tea gardens. A unique feature of Nilgiri Mountain Railway is the use of rack and pinion technology, which is the oldest and still fully operational. Book hotels in Ooty and stay comformatably!
Matheran toy train runs between Neral and Matheran, and it is a short train journey of just two hours. It is a great weekend attraction for the locals and the tourists looking for a weekend getaway. Hence, there is a higher frequency of trains during the weekend. The narrow train route is very old and was completed in the early 20th century. Because of its ancient roots, there are talks about allocating the World Heritage status to Matheran Hill Railway. Earlier, the railway track was closed during the monsoons, but today, it remains open all through the year. What makes the line unique is its horseshoe embankments. There are several notable points on the route, such as the steep grade of Bhakra Khud, Mountain Berry with two sharp zigzags, and the One Kiss Tunnel. Enjoy your weekend by booking hotels in Matheran !
Kangra Valley train is another popular toy train that runs between Pathankot and Joginder Nagar. It takes about nine hours by rail to cover a distance of 164 km. The toy train covers the longest railway route in the mountains. It takes you across the beautiful Dhauladhar mountain ranges, and you get to see the most amazing views of nature. On the route, you pass through 971 bridges and only two tunnels. The train route was built during the British Raj, and what makes it unique is that it was the last mountain railways built by them. As you enter Himachal Pradesh and come towards the end of your train journey, you get to see magnificent views of snow-capped mountains.
These are some of the most enjoyable and picturesque toy trains you must consider. They are slow, cheap and fantastic ways of passing amidst the best of nature. While going to a hill station in India, make sure that you ride at least one of them.
Read More : Beautiful Train Journeys in India