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Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) - Darjeeling Toy Train

Visit Darjeeling by Darjeeling Himalayan Railway


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Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, Darjeeling Toy Train

About Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, also known as the Darjeeling toy train is one of the most famous hill train. This train starts from New Jalpaiguri and links it to the lovely hill station of Darjeeling. With a 2 feet gauge, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is a famous toy train, and the narrowest of the regular narrow gauges. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is not only a great engineering feat but also one of the world’s most scenic rail journeys.

This rail journey covers a distance of about 88 kms in about ten hours, including small stops. There are no tunnels on the way, thus it offers the traveler an uninterrupted view of the breathtaking scenery of the Himalayas. 

The tiny century-old engine is also a connoisseur's delight. Darjeeling Himalayan Railway has been part of the Darjeeling landscape for over 100 years and is central to the economy of the region. The ride is incredibly scenic and the track climbs to a height of 7,400 feet at Ghum. It is now a world Heritage Site according to Unesco. It secured “World Heritage Status” in 1999 (only the second railway in the world to be selected).

For the first seven miles from Siliguri, the gradient is easy. After Sukna, the ascent starts; as the train traverses the Singalela range it takes the first loop. The Terai forest unfolds near Rangtong, where comes the first reverse zigzag. After the next loop at Chunbati, it gains height and offers a magnificent view of the Mahanandi valley on the right. At Tindharia, the train halts before resuming the journey towards a loop known as the Agony Point. Soon the train heads for another reverse, encountering a zigzag just before Gyabari station, at an altitude of 3,516 feet. A stream called the ‘Mad Torrent’ marks the halfway distance to Darjeeling. As the train winds its way up, a massive curve, Pagla Jhora on the hillside comes into view. Near Mahanadi station is a waterfall that drops at the height of 150 feet. After Eagles Crag, tourists are treated to a spectacular vista of the West Bengal plains, and the train proceeds towards Kurseong at an altitude of 4,864 feet. After this, it’s tea gardens all the way. After Tung, the train climbs to Sonada station, which was built in the 1880s. From here, one heads for the Ghum, enveloped eternally in mist. Ghum is one of the highest railway station in India and second highest in the world. As one reaches Ghum, its colourful monastery comes into view. From here, the train runs
from a small ridge towards the most spectacular engineering feat on the line – the Batasia Loop where it forms a ‘8’ with a breathtaking view of the Khangchendzonga. After its laborious climb, the train reaches its final destination, Darjeeling.

History of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
In 1878, Franklin Prestage of the Darjeeling Tramway Company, was facing a problem. He has taken up the project on the difficult gradient on the Siliguri-Darjeeling stretch, and was overlooking the construction of a new tram line. While on one day, when he was dancing his wife on the dance floor, his wife suggested that one move back and then another forward would perhaps improve the rhythm. And that is precisely what he did, not just during the dance but for the railway line as well. Every time the gradient got too steep, the tracks were taken back a few yards and then made to climb again at a slightly different point, providing like a z-shaped zigzag, about six times in the 55 mile stretch from Siliguri to Darjeeling. The story is now part of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway and is one of the most spectacular narrow gauge steam railway lines in the world. 

Before the Darjeeling Himalayan railway started operating, in July 1881, the journey to Darjeeling took three days from Calcutta. Now, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway connects the town of New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling, a distance of about 55 miles (88 kms), out of which just 10 miles (16 km) is in the plains.


Frequent group departures ...

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