The Darjeeling railway was proposed by Franklin Prestage in 1878 to build a 2' NG railway
line on the Hill Cart Road. The original line of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
( DHR) was constructed between 1879 and 1885 and was originally named the Darjeeling Steam Tramway Co.
The eternal Darjeeling-Himalayan Railway line having a two feet wide
track, links Darjeeling to Siliguri, a distance of 87.48 Kms. The most famous of the little trains, is the one linking the town of New Jalpaiguri in the plains to the lovely hill station of Darjeeling. The
86 km Darjeeling line allows the travelers an uninterrupted view of the breathtaking scenery of the Himalayas. Darjeeling Himalayan Railways
(DHR) is recognised as "World Heritage Site" by UNESCO.
Currently, it operates three routes: (i) Kurseong - Darjeeling - Kurseong (daily)
(ii) New Jalpaiguri - Darjeeling - New Jalpaiguri (daily) (iii) New Jalpaiguri - Silliguri Jn. - New Jalpaiguri.
Shorter excursions between Ghum and Darjeeling are run often, known as the 'Joy
Train' services and intended for tourists. These are always steam-
hauled, while the other services are sometimes steam-hauled and sometimes diesel- hauled these days.
SHIMLA toy trains
The Kalka-Shimla route is 96km long with 102 tunnels, 869
bridges, and 919 curves. Barog tunnel is the longest at 1,144m. The toy train journey from Kalka to Shimla is entrancing with
102 tunnels and lofty arched bridges. The dazzling view and the stop at the
picturesque stations along the way add to the experience. Shimla is connected by a broad gauge line up to Kalka. From Kalka to
Shimla, the "toy train" covers 96 km. of track in six hours.
The Nilgiri Mountain Railway or OOTY
The meter-gauge line from Mettupalaiyam to Conoor (the Ooty line) is a
rack railway. This is the only example of a rack railway in India. The Mettupalayam - Coonoor line was constructed in 1897 and opened in 1899.
The Nilgiri Mountain Railway ascends to the highest point on meter-gauge in
India. Mettupalaiyam is at 310m (1071'). At a maximum speed of 33km per hour, this "toy train" treks across plains,
plantation and forest clad hills. The 16 tunnels and tall girder bridges on the way, along with the
breathtaking view, make this toy train journey to Ooty, something not to be missed. Ooty is connected by a narrow gauge line from
Mettupalayam, which serves as the railhead for mainline trains.
The 77-year-old line, connecting Neral to Matheran, is the main way to reach the tiny hill resort, close to Mumbai. As the
little train wheezes up into the clear mountain air one can view the scenic vista of hills and plains below.
The toy train to Matheran commences from Neral (on Mumbai - Pune line). The journey up to Matheran takes about one-and-half hours. The toy train runs between sunrise and sunset.