Route: Siliguri to Darjeeling, in West Bengal
Run By: Indian Railways
Length: 86 km
Significance: UNESCO World Heritage Site
A ride in the Toy Train of Darjeeling is one of the things-to-do that you must not miss if you have planned a trip to West Bengal. The train, officially named 'Darjeeling Himalayan Railway', is basically a two feet narrow-gauge line. It is maintained by Indian Railways and runs between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling. Since 1999, the train has been included in the category of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites. In 2005, UNESCO also added the Nilgiri Mountain Railways, as an extension to the original inscription.
The 86-km long 'Darjeeling Himalayan Railway' was built in between 1879 and 1881. It is still powered by a steam engine. Despite facing natural calamities, such as an earthquake in 1897 and a major cyclone in 1899, the train continued enhancing its capability, accessibility and popularity. During World War II, the Toy Train played the critical role of transferring military personnel and supplying goods, from Siliguri to Darjeeling and Ghoom. After Independence, it became a part of Northeast Frontier Railway zone of Indian Railways. In 1962, a 6 km line from Siliguri was added to the route of the Toy Train, to extend it to New Jalpaiguri (NJP) and meet the new broad gauge line there.
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway connects Siliguri with the hill station of Darjeeling, in West Bengal. On its route, it passes through many awe-inspiring sites. One of them is Ghoom, where it ascends to a height of 7400 feet. The journey in Darjeeling's Toy Train, enveloped by mist and fog, will please you no end. As the fog and cloud disappear, you will be dazzled to see the mighty view of one of the world's largest peak - Mt. Kanchenjunga. Apart from that, the beauty of hills, tea gardens, natural springs and forests will keep you preoccupied throughout your journey in the Toy Train.