Darjeeling the beautiful hill station located in the north eastern part of India has some of the breathtaking sights and picturesque hills. People from all over the world have been visiting this immensely popular town of Darjeeling to soak themselves in the Himalayan serenity. This Queen of Hills also gained international recognition when the UNESCO announced the Toy Train that runs up and down the hill as a world heritage site.
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) as is its official name is a 2 feet narrow gauge railway that runs from New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling town. This 134 years old train was built sometime between years 1879 to 1881. The railway is about 78 kilometers long and since it runs from the plains to the hills it has a varying elevation from about 100 meters to 2200 meters. During the journey it comes across many big and small railway stations such as NJP, Siliguri, Sukna, Rangtang, Tindharia, Gayabari, Mahanadi, Kurseong, Tung, Sonada, Ghoom and finally the destination Darjeeling.
Well coming to the fact about DHR, after a huge landslide near Tindharia, the services from NJP to Darjeeling has been stopped from the last few years. Though improvement and repairing works are going on to make this vintage train resume their services from NJP, but for the time being both
modern diesel locomotives and vintage train are running from Darjeeling to Kurseong. There are four modern diesel locomotives which handle most of the schedules services and daily runs from Darjeeling –Kurseong return services, while the vintage toy train offer happy journey from Darjeeling to Ghoom. Ghoom is a renowned railway station as it is the highest railway station in India and the second highest in the world. DHR runs every day starting its journey at 9am in NJP and reaches Darjeeling by 5:50pm. Downhill it starts from Darjeeling at 10:15am and reaches NJP by 7pm.
Toy Train runs every day blowing its whistle announcing its arrival to the hills. There are many stories, songs and poems written about it, thus it has become an integral part of the lives of the people of Darjeeling. People anticipate every day that someone new has come to the hills to appreciate its beauty. From tourism point of view also it is very important because there are many who come to the hills just to experience this once in a life time journey. People enjoy the beautiful sights that are seen from during the journey.
Train starts from NJP which is much warmer than the hills so it is advisable to carry warm clothes. After 6 miles it reaches Sukna from where the real ascent begins. The passenger now can start getting the feeling of the real journey marked by the change in the local people who have sharp mongoloid features unlike the plains. The train passes through the enchanting forests of teak and sal, gently rolling tea gardens, small hilly villages, winding roads, etc. By the time it reaches Darjeeling it might have crossed 100 road crossings and it often runs along parallel with the
cars on the road. At Ghoom you get to see the museum which displays the history of DHR. When it crosses Ghoom station then you can see the Mt. Kanchenjunga in its entirety and finally reach Darjeeling railway station which is the last stop and the town awaits the weary traveller. This wonderful magical journey for you remains etched forever in your heart.