This train runs between New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling and counts among the most wonderful journeys of the world. Although the 83 km long journey takes about nine hours to reach its destination, the wait is worth it as the magnificent views of landscapes that you get to savour are truly enchanting.
The proposal to lay down a train line between Siliguri and Darjeeling was put up by one Franklin Prestage. The earlier train was very different from the one that runs today as it was only a four wheeled trolley covered with canvas. Then it was used to carry cargo whereas today it is known for carrying the tourists.
Route covered: From Siliguri -Kurseong up to Ghoom and Darjeeling in the hills.
Just after the introduction of railways in India, there was a proposal to build a rail line up to it. After the proposal for the railway line was submitted, intense discussions followed and then an adhesion line was preferred to the rack system. Around 120 passengers can be accommodated on this train. The coaches of Shimla Toy Train are very well appointed with wall to wall carpeting as well as glass windows that enhance the overall appearance of the toy train. About four and half hours are needed to reach Shimla from Kalka.
The Barog railway station is somewhat special as the train stops here for about 15 minutes to enable the passengers to have some refreshments from the restaurant here which is regarded as the best of any hill station in India.
Routes covered: Kalka - Barog - Solan- Shimla
The journey that you undertake through this train is truly amazing as it is not only the distance that you cover but also the altitude that you gain that takes your breath away. The journey commences at the height of 1069 feet and goes up to 7228 feet.
The reason for building this track was that it was very difficult to reach Udhagmandalam (now known as Ooty). Travellers needed to go to Ooty on a horse back through the forests. Although the idea began to take shape in 1854 itself, it took another 40 years to begin work on it. First, a Swiss inventor Riggenback started work on it and built the line up to Conoor by 1899. Later the track was extended up to Ooty by 1908.
This rail line is unique in itself as it negotiates the steepest slope with ease. To climb up, it uses Alternate Biting System which is also called the rack and the pinion system. The engine is kept on the back of the train to push the train forward.
The journey commences at Mettupalayam, passes through the plain areas only for about five miles and then goes up to Ooty. En route, you'll witness beautiful sceneries.
Route Covered: Mettupalayam - Kellar - Coonoor - Wellington - Lovedale - Ootacamund
Matheran is an incomparable hill station and is easily accessible from Mumbai as it is only 108 km away from Mumbai. The landscapes visible from Matheran are exceptional and the air, pollution free as the place is a vehicle free zone.
The Toy train at Matheran starts its journey from Neral on the Mumbai Pune line and ends at Matheran. This route was discovered by an Indian, Abdul Hussein. He obtained permission from his father and based himself at Neral and started working on the project from there. The work on the railway line finished in 1907 and was opened for traffic in the same year.
Although the journey takes only 90 minutes, yet the visual delights that it offers along the way are tremendous and beyond comparison. Come Hardar hills and the ascent begins but the real treat comes at the Jamnapatti station where the track and the road run together for some distance and get separated after a while. They come back again after the slope at Bhekra Kund ends. The attractions to watch out for en route are the Panorama point and Simpson Tank after which the train reaches its destination, Matheran.
Route covered: Neral - Hardal Hill - Jammapatti Station - Bhekra Station - Mount Barry- Panorama Point - Simpson Point - Matheran Bazaar.