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Toy Trains in India

There are five most beautiful toy trains in India. These are also known as Mountain Trains of India. The Mountain Railways of India refers to the railway lines built in the mountains of India. There are three railways which are included in the Mountain Railways of India by UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 

These three railways are the Darjeeling Himalaya Railway, the Nilgiri Mountain Railways, and the Kalka –Shimla Railway which was in UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India and declared in 1999. Darjeeling Himalaya Railway was the first mountain railway opened in 1881 and still the most outstanding example of a hill passenger railway. The fourth railway the Matheran Hill Railway is on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

All these railway lines are narrow gauge railways. Some other mountain railways such as Jammu- Baramulla line are under construction, while Bilaspur –Manali- Leh Line, the Jammu – Poonch line, the Srinagar – Kargil- Leh line and Chota Char Dham railway are in the planning stage.


Kalka Shimla Toy Train

Toy Trains of India
The best way to appreciate the grandeur of the 96 km of 0.762 m narrow gauge track as it climbs through the foothills of the Himalayas is by rail motor car. It makes you aware of the extraordinary feats of engineering that created this line with great arched viaducts spanning chasms, and over a hundred tunnels bored through the mountains.

The rail car waits at the end of the platform where the Kalka Mail terminates. The sight of it, like a light blue 1920s Ford truck that’s escaped from a museum, will make you rub your eyes in disbelief. There are actually four cares in service, built-in 1927 and reconditioned in 1982.

The driver engages gear and the car leaps forward for the journey through 103 tunnels and over 869 bridges, climbing from 656 m above sea level at Kalka to 2075 m at Shimla. The views are stunning and, seated in the rail car, you miss nothing.

A 15-minute halt is made at Barog where the restaurant is one of the nicest of any station in India. It is above the platform with a flower-bedecked verandah, a hillside view, service that is friendly and fast, and food that is freshly prepared. You should order meals in advance through the railway staff before leaving Kalka or Shimla. The rail car is permitted with a maximum speed of 29 km per hour, and the diesel – hauled passenger train is restricted to a maximum of 25 km per hour.

Kalka Shimla is one of the best toy trains of India and one can book this toy train from the official website of IRCTC.


Darjeeling Toy Train

Toy Trains of India

A journey over the Darjeeling Himalayan Railways by toy trains is an unforgettable experience. Starting from New Jalpaiguri or Siliguri in the plains, the railway winds its way among mountains and valley to reach Darjeeling. On the way, one can break the journey at Kurseong, another hill resort at an altitude of 1458 meters. The Batasia loop and Tiger Hill on the way are favorite spots.

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway began as a steam tramway in 1880 from Siliguri to Darjeeling, following a card road built by military engineers in 1861. It was the first hill railway to be built in India.

The best to go is September to November before it gets too cold, or in the spring of mid-April to mid-June.

Online tickets of Darjeeling Toy Train can be booked from the official website of IRCTC.


Matheran Hill Toy Train

Toy Trains of India

Less than two hours from Mumbai there is a great rail trip by another toy train, the one that goes to Matheran. The name means ‘Jungle head’ or ‘forest on the top’ and it still applies to this place, discovered in 1850. It is the nearest hill resort to Mumbai, 108 km away, situated in the Western Ghats at 803 m above sea level.

The narrow-gauge railway was opened to traffic in 1907 and was, until a few years ago when a road was built, the only way to reach Matheran. Motor traffic does not penetrate beyond the resort’s car park from where walking, pony riding, or rickshaw is the only means of getting around.

The toy train begins its 21 km journey from Neral, pulled by a diesel locomotive. Although the climb of 610 m is slow (it takes two hours) time passes quickly because of the breathtaking scenery. The ruling gradient is 1 in 20 as the track zigzags upwards gradually revealing the full beauty of Matheran Hill.

One can book this toy train from the official website of IRCTC.


Nilagiri Mountain Toy Train

Toy Trains of India

The board gauge Nilagiri Express from Chennai terminates at Mettupalaiyam station and passengers change over during the 30-minute wait before the fabled Blue Mountain train departs for Ooty.

During the wait, vendors pass along the platform selling coffee and breakfast snacks, and the 1920s

Steam engine shunts into position at the back of the train. The station has the look of a frontier with the modern overnight Nilagiri Express, hauled by a huge diesel and with AC sleeper and 3-tier carriages, on one side of the platform, and the old wooden coaches of the meter gauge mountain train on the other.

Although the idea for a railway from Mettupalaiyam to Coonoor, a distance of 27 km, was first mooted in 1854, it wasn’t in operation until 1899.

The train’s coaches are as old as the engines. Made of wood, they have painted dark blue and a grubby yellow on the outside and pale blue inside.

Nilagiri Mountain Toy Train tickets can be booked from the official website of IRCTC.


Kangra Valley Toy Train

Toy Trains of India

Kangra Valley Toy Train is 2 feet and 6 inches gauge railway which runs from Pathankot of Punjab to Jogindernagar in Himachal Pradesh. Distance between Pathankot to Jogindernagar is 164 km and it takes around 9 hours.  This railway is part of the Firozpur division of The Northern Railway. Ahju station is the highest point on this line which is at an elevation of 1290 meters.

This railway line was planned in May 1926 and commissioned in 1929. The line has two tunnels, one of which is 250 ft and another is at 1000 ft. Trains on this narrow gauge line are pulled by small and less powerful engines than on a broad gauge main line, therefore steep ascents had to be avoided.

There is no online booking for this toy train and tickets are available offline at counters.


Know more about Indian Railways

Indian Railways is India’s national railway system operated by the Ministry of Railways. It is one of the public facilities given by the government and manages the fourth largest railway network in the world by size, with a route length of 95981 km. Established in 1853; Indian Railways is now the nation’s lifeline and prime carrier of men and material. It is the world’s largest network under single management.


Click here to check the PNR status of the toy train.

PNR is a short name for Passenger Name Record. It is recorded in the database of the Indian Railways computer reservation system against which journey details for a passenger or a group of passengers are saved.  These details are associated with a unique 10 digit number. This 10 digit reference number is called PNR and it is printed on the tickets of IRCTC.

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