Details of Toy Trains by Indian Railway
Indian Railway is offering toy train services in four different regions of the country. The trains are at Shimla, Ooty, Darjeeling and Matheran. Following are the details of toy trains by Indian Railway.
The Shimla Toy Train
The toy train journey from Kalka to Shimla, Shimla, the capital city of Himachal Pradesh, is entrancing with 107 tunnels and lofty arched bridges. The dazzling view and the stops at the picturesque stations along the way – Dharampore, Taksal, Gamma and Solan, all add up to an exhilarating experience. Shimla is well-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 Kalka Shimla Rail Route (Kalka to Shimla Toy Train)
The 96-km long Kalka-Shimla narrow gauge railway track combines antiquity and modernity with a cocktail of pilgrimage and glamour. The rail motor car of 1927 vintage which had the unique distinction of bringing Mahatma Gandhi in 1945 to Shimla for talks with Viceroy Wavell about British plans for leaving India, is still rail worthy and remains a tourist’s delight. The Gothic-style Barog railway station has become a favourite jaunt of Bollywood stars.
Beside the sleek rail services, the train stops at or run past Jabli, Dharampur, Barog, Solan, Salogra, Kandaghat and Taradevi, to name a few of the spick-and-span railway stations en route. If the six pairs of seven-coach trains and a pair of rail motor cars serve the passengers of modest means, the Shivalik Deluxe Express, popularly known as the narrow-gauge Shatabdi, caters to top-of-the-line clientele. Introduced in June 1996, the Shivalik Deluxe Express runs packed to nine months capacity during the year.
Darjeeling Toy Train
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. With a 2 ft gauge, the Darjeeling Hill Railway is indeed a ‘toy train’, being the narrowest of the regular narrow gauges. The tiny century-old engine is a connoisseur’s delight. The 86-km long Darjeeling line has no tunnels, thus allowing the traveller an uninterrupted view of the breathtaking scenery of the Himalayas. The seven-and-a-half hour ride up, is a journey especially for rail buffs.
According to Mark Twain, a trip on the DHR “is the most enjoyable day I have spent on the earth”. Few will disagree with him. Darjeeling becomes the toy train and the toy train, Darjeeling. In fact, the verdant slopes appear more as a backdrop to the ubiquitous toy train. Without it, the Darjeeling landscape would appear bereft. The steamy hiss of the engine, the strident whistle and the clatter of the carriages as the toy train winds its way up the hill blend seamlessly with the cacophony of hill traffic especially because the railway and the hill road chase each other all the way from Siliguri to Darjeeling. At times the narrow gauge railway track and the road seem to move in tandem, a picture of perfect harmony. Many times – in fact 150 times in the entire stretch – they cross each other. Every now and then they play hide and seek like two feuding lovers. But they are never too faraway from each other at any point.
Luxury Trains by Indian Railway
The Nilgiri Toy Train
The Nilgiri Mountain railway starts from the town of Mettupalayam and thus begins a journey full of twists and turns, as this narrow gauge train ascends 46-km., on its way to the hill resort of Ooty. At a maximum speed of 33-km per hour, this ‘toy train’ treks across plains, plantations 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.
The Matheran Toy Train
Neral Matheran Toy Train
The 77-year-old line, connecting Neral to Matheran, is the main way to reach the tiny hill resort, close to Mumbai. As a little train wheezes up into the clear mountain air, on can view the scenic vista of hills and plains below. The lack of vehicular traffic at Matheran makes it an unusual and peaceful retreat. The journey up to Matheran from Neral takes about one-and-a-half hours. The toy train runs between sunrise and sunset.
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