Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
Travelling through the steep mountains and slopes of Himalayas would have been a distant dream, without the wonderful Darjeeling Himalayan Railway or popularly known as Toy Train that came in 1881. Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is a 2 feet, narrow gauge railway that runs between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling in West Bengal. The headquarters of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is located in the town of Kurseong.
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is the first and the most outstanding example of a hill railway and an astonishing example of engineering. It is about 86 km long and the elevation varies from place to place, ranging from 100 meters at Jalpaiguri to about 2,200 meters at Darjeeling. Darjeeling Himalayan Railway was listed in the World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999. Passing through the wonderful mountain ranges, steeps and slopes, witnessing the impregnable Himalayan peaks, rivers, streams is an experience to be cherished.
Nilgiri Mountain Railway
The Nilgiri Mountain Railway situated in Tamil Nadu was built by the British in 1908. The track is 3 ft 3 3⁄8 in meter gauge and the railway is isolated from other metre gauge lines. The railway still relies on its fleet of steam locomotives. Nilgiri Mountain Railway was added in UNESCO world Heritage site in 2005 as an extension of World Heritage Site of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway.
The train runs from Ooty now officially renamed as Udagamandalam to Mettuppalayam in Tamil Nadu, passing through 13 tunnels and 250 bridges. The train passes through beautiful and picturesque sceneries Nilgiris mountains ranges, tea gardens, villages and towns. The altitude ranges from 1877 m at Mettupalayam to 2203 m at Ooty.
It is a great to experience the southern part of India in this wonderful Mountain Railway, which passes through beautiful Nilgiri ranges unfolding nature in front of you.
Kalka Shimla Railway
Kalka Shimla Toy Train is a part of the mountain railway project that was built by the British in 1903 to provide access to their summer capital of Shimla. Located in beautiful state of Himachal Pradesh, this 2 ft 5 inch narrow gauge railway covers the entire mountainous route from Kalka to Shimla. Passing through the picturesque hills and surrounding villages journey through this Himalayan toy train keeps travelers spell bound with spectacular scenery along the narrow track through majestic mountains and pine forests. In 2008, the Kalka–Shimla Railway was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List as part of the World Heritage Site Mountain Railways of India
The toy train passes through various tunnels and bridges and gives panoramic view of all hill station of the state. Originally, there were 107 tunnels built on the track, later some tunnels were discarded or dismantled; now there are 102 working tunnels. There are total 864 bridges on the route. Many bridges have multi-arched galleries like the ancient Roman aqueducts These tunnels and bridges are associated with a number of tales and legends. There are many sharp curves on the route. The train stops at a number of stations.
Shivalik Deluxe Express, Himalayan Queen and Rail Motor Car are some famous toy trains that run on this route. During tourist seasons a number of extra trains are run by state government to manage crowd. Known as heart and soul of Himachal Pradesh, travelling on toy train in Himachal Pradesh is a life time experience.