Toy Trains in India – All You Need to Know About
In India, the small trains that traverse the mountainous slopes, that the British had constructed during the 1800’s and early 1900, have earned the name of toy trains. These trains connect the areas that were basically used by hikes are carts for the transport of goods and for minimal communication purposes.
Why the train is called toy train?
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway that emerged with the name ‘toy train’ happened to be called so due to its certain minimized structure compared to a usual train. These narrow gauge trains run on slim tracks that are smartly built for the various loops and bends they are meant to cover on quite a high altitude.
These trains started being steam engines at the beginning, with the use of coal in fire, but at present, they are mostly driven by diesel. A couple of steam engine trains are still working to keep the heritage alive.
Who made the first toy train?
The first ever toy train in India was under the idea proposed by Mr.Franklin Prestage, and it started in the year 1878.
Past of Toy Train
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railways, which was the origin of the Indian “toy train” trail, has been considered a marvelous accomplishment in engineering. During the late years of the 19th century when the plan was being put on paper, it was received as a great challenge and today, if we look at the detail of the trail, it can be well understood how much mind boggling the process might have been, to take the journey from the sea level to 7000 feet above it.
How many toy trains are there in India?
The three famous mountain railway tracks or toy trains that are regarded together as a UNESCO World Heritage site, consists of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway, and the Kalka Shimla Railway. Other than these we also have the Kangra Valley Railway and the Matheran Hill Railway.
Let’s have a quick run through each one.
1. Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway was the first ever railway system in the Indian mountain terrains and thus the name giver to this historical railway. It was the the 1880’s when communication meant horse carriages and hiking in the hills. This amazingly thought out transportation made lives convenient and also paved a way for the tourism industry due to the unique scenery offered on the way within the mountains.
It’s journey starts in New Jalpaiguriwhich was the Siliguri town before, in the state of West Bengal, and rolling through Ghoom and Kurseong reaches Darjeeling.
The train leaves NJP station at 8.30 A.M and reaches Darjeeling at 3.35 P.M.
- Darjeeling to NJP – Rs 1555 (A.C) rats 1295 (First Class)
- Darjeeling to Ghoom – Rs 30 (Second class) Rs 410 ( First Class)
- Darjeeling to Kurseong- Rs 60 (Second Class) Rs 680(First Class)
Best time to visit
March to May
2. Nilgiri Mountain Railways
The Nilgiri Mountain Railways were the first plan implemented for the mountain railways, even before the Darjeeling Himalayan Railways, but due to the wild force of nature and ruggedness of the earth, the work couldn’t be completed until the 1900’s.
Mettupalayam in Coimbatore to Ooty via Coonoor
- 7 A.M , from Mettupalayam to Ooty
- 2 P.M Ooty to Mettupalayam
Mettupalayam to Ooty – Rs 205 ( First Class) Rs 30 ( Second Class) Rs 15 ( Unreserved)
Best time to visit
April to June
3. Kalka Shimla Toy Trains
The Kalka Shimla toy trains provide the ultimate scenic beauty to travelers, going over a range of 96 kilometers. It runs through 20 stations with numerous tunnels in between.
Dharampur, Solan, Kandaghat, Barog, Taradevi, Summer hill and Shimla.
- Shimla to Kalka 10.25 A.M
- Kalka to Shimla 5.10 A.M
Kalka to Shimla Rs 305 (First Class)
Best time to visit
December to February
Toy train bookings are better if made a month before the actual trip, that just assures a better and relaxed vacation for you. Usually all toy train bookings around Indian can be successfully made through the Indian Railways official website at irctc.co.in.
In India, there are luxury trains which are also run by Indian Railways:
- Maharajas Express – World’s leading luxury train
- Palace on Wheels
- Deccan Odyssey – Asia’s leading luxury train
Now, that you have imagined how far we have come, maybe you can take your time to plan your days and wander across nature’s offerings and have a whiff of the fresh air and the warmth of the morning sun. Plan your escape to visit these tremendously beautiful mighty mountain slopes that bring forth the truth of India’s vitality. Book your own toy train journey or have a family adventure, while you look back to the past and be thankful for your present!
Suggested Next Reading:
- Different Types of Trains in India
- History of Indian Railways – 1853 to 2018
- Train 18 – Interesting Things About India’s Fastest Train
- Ramayana Express Trains for Madurai, Rajkot and Jaipur
- Best Time to Visit India – Weather Guide Month by Month