Darjeeling Himalayan Railway:
Darjeeling is a beautiful Himalayan city in West Bengal. Darjeeling is a famous tourist attraction place well known for its tea industry, Darjeeling Himalayan Railway and scenic beauty. It is a honeymoon hotspot and excellent weekend getaway from parts of Sikkim, Kolkata and Jalpaiguri. It's famed for the distinctive black tea grown on plantations that dot its surrounding slopes. Its backdrop is Mt. Kanchenjunga, among the world’s highest peaks.
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, also known as the DHR or "Toy Train", is a 2 ft (610 mm) narrow-gauge railway that runs between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling in the Indian state of West Bengal, India. Built between 1879 and 1881, the railway is about 88 km (55 mi) long. Its elevation level varies from about 100 m (328 ft) at New Jalpaiguri to about 2,200 m (7,218 ft) at Darjeeling. Four modern diesel locomotives handle most of the scheduled services; however, the daily Kurseong–Darjeeling return service and the daily tourist trains from Darjeeling to Ghum (India's highest railway station) are handled by the vintage British-built B Class steam locomotives. The headquarters of the railway is located in Kurseong.
Here you can get into the toy train and get high standard of railway service. By staying at home, you can easily do the reservation for the toy train and save your time and money.
Best Time to Visit:
October to March: October is when the monsoon season ends and a slight chill is observed in the weather. Winter season begins in full swing and it is during the months of mid-November to January, when the average temperature ranges between 7 and 5 degree Celsius. Snowfall is rarely seen in Darjeeling.
Darjeeling can be reached by the 88 km (55 mi) long Darjeeling Himalayan Railway from New Jalpaiguri, or by National Highway 55, from Siliguri, 77 km (48 mi) away. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is a 600 mm (2 ft) narrow-gauge railway that was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999 for being "an outstanding example of the influence of an innovative transportation system on the social and economic development of a multi-cultural region, which was to serve as a model for similar developments in many parts of the world", becoming only the second railway in the world to have this honour.
1. Siliguri to Rangtong
This round trip toy train safari (3 hours) operates between Siliguri Junction and Rangtong Station. Rangtong is a small village on the roadside and at an altitude of 1404 ft. It's 16kms from Siliguri Junction. The train usually leaves at 10:30am from Siliguri Junction, goes past Sukna, and reaches Rangtong at 11:50am. It halts there for 20 minutes and returns to Siliguri Junction at 1:35pm. The total round trip distance is 32kms and takes about 3 hours.
The Jungle Safari takes you through the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary located around Sukna and Rangtong station, and offers breathtaking view of the valley from Tindharia. This safari is a great treat for the nature lovers. There are two or three coaches provided depending on the demand. The Toy Train is pulled by a 'B' class steam locomotive engine.
Siliguri - Rangtong Fare "First Class" : Rs. 610/-
2. Darjeeling to Ghum
Toy train joy rides operate from Darjeeling Railway Station. It's a 2-hour round trip from Darjeeling up to Ghum and back covering a total distance of 14kms. There are four such round trips in a day, two in the morning half and two in the afternoon. The train stops for 10 minutes at the Batasia Loop. At Batasia the train makes a loop around a wonderful manicured garden. The view of Darjeeling town and the snow peaks of Kanchenjunga from here are unparalleled. The War Memorial built in honor of the Gorkha soldiers who sacrificed their lives is located at the center of the Garden.
Ghum is the highest altitude station on the Darjeeling Himalayan Rail track. Altitude of Ghum is 2225.7 meters (7407 ft). Here the toy train stops for 30 minutes for a visit to Darjeeling Himalayan Railway museum. The DHR Museum is located at the station premises. The highlight here is the oldest toy train engine - The Baby Sivok. The entree fee to the museum is included in the ticket price. DHR sends by post a certificate validating your ride on the toy train so that you can cherish the memories of your ride.
Toy Train Schedule
12 rides are scheduled from the morning starting at 7:40am till afternoon the last train being at 4:20pm.
3. New Jalpaiguri (NJP) to Darjeeling
There is a toy train which is run by Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. It starts from the NJP station and goes all the way to Darjeeling. The narrow gauge track climbs uphill and passes via the highest altitude railway station in Asia known as Ghoom. The toy train which is part of UNESCO World Heritage Site, was introduced during the British colonial days in 1800s and is still operational. Until recently, the train was hauled by steam engine and took over 10 hours to reach Darjeeling. Now a days, it is hauled by a diesel engine and takes about 7 hours.
Kurseong is 51 km from Siliguri and 30 km from Darjeeling. The word Kurseong means – the place of White Orchid. Because of its lower elevation, Kurseong enjoys milder and very healthy climate throughout the year.
It is the peace, serenity and the healthy climate that attracted many a great person to this place. Some of the famous poems and songs of Guru Rabindranath Tagore were composed in Kurseong. The magic painter, Abanindranath Tagore and great composer Atul Prasad Sen got inspiration for some of their famous works around Kurseong. Sister Nivedita, the great disciple of Swami Vivekananda made Kurseong her home. It is learnt that Mark Twain spent some time in Kurseong in 1885, Fazlul Haque the Prime Minister of undivided Bengal also stayed here. Netaji Subash Chandra Bose was interned by the colonial government for a couple of months in 1936 in a house at Giddapahar near Kurseong.
Best Time to Visit: March to mid June & September to December.
Places of Interest
Eagle's Crag : Beautiful Point in Kurseong town to watch the panoramic view of Siliguri plains and hills. During summer season, in the evening, one can sit at the place and watch the evening lights of Siliguri town.
Netaji Subash Chandra Bose Museum : It is located at Giddhapahar at a distance of 4 kms. from Kurseong. It contains various documents and articles related with Netaji Subash Chandra Bose. The house in which museum is housed, belonged to elder brother of Netaji.