Boarding the historical mountains railway toy trains in India will give you a spectacular view of India’s rich fauna and flora. The British built India’s toy trains between the 19th and 20th centuries. These toy trains made it easy for the Britons to get to their homes through the historic railway lines into the hilly British settlements. The prime purpose of these trains is to carry tourists and not for any transportation needs of the local people.
Even though these toy trains are relatively slow and maybe on then for up to 8 hours to your destination, the scenic views along the way will amaze you. Demand for these trains goes up during the peak seasons like the festival season or summer holiday season.
The UNESCO World Heritage Sites recognizes Kalka–Shimla Railway, Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, and Nilgiri Mountain Railway; the three main Railway Toy trains in India.
Below are the top 5 Scenic historical mountain Railway Toy trains in India:
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
Where: West Bengal
The Darjeeling toy train, also referred to as Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, was constructed in 1881, and it’s the oldest and first outstanding Railway Toy trains in India. Through Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, tourists manage to view the lower sides of the Eastern Himalayas, tea plantations of Darjeeling, and other fantastic scenes.
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway runs from New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling through Kurseong, Siliguri, and Ghoom. It’s a 50miles (80km) railway line that passes through 5 major bridges and other 500 minor bridges. Many tourists prefer riding from Darjeeling – Ghoom, which takes a two-hour ride.
Between Darjeeling and Ghum, you’ll pass Batasia Loop, which is among the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway’s fascinating loops. Standing at 2258 meters altitude is Ghum railway station, which is the highest railway in India.
Matheran Hill Railway
Matheran Hill Railway was first used in 1907, and even if it’s not familiar, it’s still among the best Railway Toy trains in India. It carries passengers to Matheran, and along the way, you’ll encounter shady greenery, pollution-free and peaceful. The settlements of Matheran are the only place where bicycles and vehicles are banned, so it will be fun to tour this place.
Tourists launch their journey from Neral which is halfway between Pune and Mumbai. The whole journey looks short (12mles), but due to the railway line’s zig-zag nature, it will take 2½ hours to get to the top of Matheran.
Where: Himachal Pradesh
During the British rule, Shimla was once their summer capital, so Kalka-Shimla Railway provided easy access to this beautiful town. In 1903, the railway was entirely constructed and functional, and it’s been providing the best picturesque train tours in India.
Kalka-Shimla Railway is a 60mile (96km) railway line passing through 20 railway stations, unique 900 curves, 800 scenic bridges, and 103 tunnels. The tour starts from Kalka, Chandigarh to Shimla and takes approximately 5 hours. However, boarding these Railway Toy trains in India from Barog will give you a more spectacular view as there are amazing scenes along the way.
Nilgiri Mountain Railway
Where: Tamil Nadu
Nilgiri Mountain Railway is among the best Railway Toy trains in India, proposed in 1854 and completed in 1908. The work took longer than usual since there were thickly forested hills and rocky terrain. The railway line is 28.5miles (46km), running from Mettupalayam to Ooty through Coonoor.
When you board the toy trains on this railway line, you’ll pass 250 bridges and 16 tunnels. Between Mettupalayam and Coonoor stretch, there is so much to look at and you can stop at Coonoor to see the fantastic tea plantations in the area.
Kangra Valley Railway
Where: Himachal Pradesh
Kangra Valley Railway was completed in 1929 and the last to be built. Furthermore, Pathankot, Punjab to Joginder Nagar, Himachal Pradesh, and passes through Kangra and Palampur. Unlike other Railway Toy trains in India, Kangra Valley Railway passes through two tunnels as the engineers avoided constructing the railway on the hillside. It takes you 10 hours to complete the 164km(102miles) journey.
However, most of the gorgeous scenic view along the Kangra Valley Railway starts from Kangra to Palampur. Along the way, you’ll get a scenic view of the Dhauladhar mountain range. For those who love paragliding, Bir-Billing is close by. Lastly, note that trains operating along the Kangra Valley Railway are unreserved, and you can view their timetable so you can catch up with it.
These trains have featured in many Indian movies. It is very difficult to say which one of these is the best train but all these trains have their attraction.
These are some of the most enjoyable and picturesque toy trains you must consider. They are slow, cheap and fantastic ways of passing amidst the best of nature. While going to a hill station in India, make sure that you ride at least one of them.