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Darjeeling Toy Train
Rides, Services & Schedule

 
Riding the Toy Train of Darjeeling Himalayan Railways (DHR) has always remained a coveted experience to the tourists. Only few would let go such an opportunity. And there is a clear reason why so. After all this Toy Train has been accorded the UNESCO World Heritage status, and that's for something special. 
 
Operating on narrow gauge tracks since 1800s and providing an important transport link to the various parts of the Himalayan hills, the Toy Train is still unmatched when it comes to absorbing the wondrous beauty of Darjeeling mountains. 
 
Where else can you find a small steam engine pulling mini coaches up the steep mountains through breathtaking landscapes and overcoming almost impossible moves using sheer engineering ingenuity and creative skills. The snail pace at which the train moves through the hilly terrain is at times so slow that you can often see the local school children hopping on and off the train on the move. 
 
Toy Train, Darjeeling Himalayan Railway 
 
 
Although the diesel engines used these days are faster and more powerful, the original steam engines still operate in some sections of DHR. The steam loco drawn trains sometimes tend to skid in steep gradients. You can often see an attendant standing in front of the engine and sprinkling sand on the track to overcome such difficulties. 
 
 
 
Won't you like to experience a ride on such heritage transport that once provided the first and the most important mountain transportation link in the country? And the one that offers a unique ride with picturesque mountain views. You will pass by villages and local shops on the way with children on the street waving at you as you take this relaxed and charming journey through the hills. Check out DHR Toy Train Story to know why DHR Toy Train received the World Heritage Status. 
 
You can enjoy the toy train rides in several ways. There are joy ride tours as well as regular transport services on toy trains. Let me first tell you about the joy rides and tours: 
 
Joyrides and Tours on Darjeeling Toy Trains 
 
Round Trip Toy Train Joyride, Darjeeling to Ghoom 
There are daily 2-hour toy train joy rides available from Darjeeling Railway Station. It's a round trip from Darjeeling up to Ghoom and back. The narrow gauge train leaves once at 10:40am in the morning and again in the second half at 1:20pm (timings change frequently). Sometimes there are four trains in a day. The train stops for 10 minutes at the Batasia Loop. At Batasia the train makes a loop around a wonderful manicured garden. The view of Darjeeling town and the snow peaks of Kanchenjunga from here are unparalleled. Here you will also see the War Memorial at the center of the Garden. 
 
Ghoom is the highest altitude station on the Darjeeling Himalayan Rail track. It's at an altitude of 2225.7 meters (7407 ft). Here the toy train stops for 30 minutes for a visit to Darjeeling Himalayan Railway museum. The DHR Museum is located at the station premises. The highlight here is the oldest toy train engine - The Baby Sivok. The entree fee to the museum is included in the ticket price. So that you can cherish the memories of your ride, DHR sends by post a certificate validating your ride on the toy train. 
 
There are usually three first class coaches provided in train which is pulled by a 'B' class Steam Locomotive Engine. 
 
Note that during high season, there is a lot of rush for this ride and you should try to book well in advance. Don't plan to buy the ride tickets after you reach Darjeeling because you may not get them. Just in case you don't get the joy ride tickets, an alternative plan is to buy a ticket on the regular morning toy train from Darjeeling to Kurseong, which too goes via Batasia and Ghoom. Get off at Ghoom and take a shared jeep back to Darjeeling. Try to visit the Old Ghoom Monastery which is 10-15 minutes walk from Ghoom Station before you head back to Darjeeling. 
 
How to book DHR Toy Train Joyrides: There are several ways you can book the toy train joyride including online though the Indian Railway's website or at any of the computerized reservation counters. Visit How to book Toy Train Joyrides in Darjeeling to know about the details of booking the joyride. 
 
 
 
DHR Toy Train Heritage Safari (Jungle Safari, Holiday Specials) 
These holiday specials are round trips between Siliguri Junction and Tindharia Station. These toy train rides usually operate during the high season on Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays. 
 
Tindharia is a village on the roadside and at an altitude of 2,822 feet. It's 30kms from Siliguri. The train usually leaves at 11am from Siliguri Junction. It reaches Tindharia at 1pm. It starts its return trip at 2:30pm after giving a lunch break and reaches Siliguri at 4:30pm. 
 
The highlight of this six hours joy ride is the great experience and view at the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary located around the Rungtong station at an altitude of 1,404ft and the breathtaking view of the valley from Tindharia. This safari is a great treat for the nature lovers. You will also experience an engineering feat the 'zigzag' on the narrow gauge track between Sukna and Tindharia. Here the train goes back & forth to negotiate a steep climb. 
 
There are 2 or 3 coaches provided depending on the demand. The Toy Train is pulled by a 'B' class steam locomotive engine. 
 
How to book: At Siliguri Junction Station. For online booking, visit the IRCTC's website www.railtourismindia.com, then check out the 'Tourist Trains' and select DHR Joyride. If you are in a group of 30 or more, you can also book the Jungle Safari on a week day. Contact: +91 353-2517246/ 353-2510017, +91 354-225 2555; Email: director.dhr@gmail.com 
 
Sukna Steam Special 
This is a round trip joy ride from Siliguri Junction to Sukna and back. The ride takes about two hours. The train leaves Siliguri Junction station once at 10am and again at 1pm (timings may change). This toy train with a heritage steam engine goes through the heart of Siliguri town and passes by lovely tea estates before reaching Sukna. At Sukna it stops for 30 minutes where you have an opportunity to visit the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Photo Gallery that has many rare photographs of the toy train since its origin. 
 
The engine provided is a 'B' class Steam Locomotive. There are three coaches attached with a capacity of 30 each. 
 
How to book: At any of the computerized reservation counters in the country or book online at the Indian Railways web site www.irctc.co.in. You can also do the bookings at Siliguri Junction Station. If you are in a group of 25 or more, you can also charter a coach. Contacts: +91 353-2517246/ 353-2510017, +91 354-225 2555; 
 
 
 
DHR Toy Train Charters 
How about chartering a DHR Toy Train with the steam engine hooting it's way through the mountains and lovely landscape as you enjoy the ride with your family and friends in complete exclusivity!! It's possible and that too at an attractive rate. You can also book it to celebrate a birthday party or hold a private function. In fact you can also have a flexible timings of your choice. Want to know how? Check out Chartering DHR Toy Trains
 
Regular DHR Toy Train Services 
 
There are daily toy train services that provide regular transport connections within the Darjeeling region. One of the most popular ones with the tourists is the service between New Jalpaiguri (NJP) station to Darjeeling which passes through picturesque mountain landscapes and villages. The track often runs side by side the main motor road (The National Highway 55 or the Hill Cart Road) and sometimes even crisscrosses the road. There are breathtaking zigzags and loops on the way to help the train negotiate steep gradients. 
 
Route #1: New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling & Return 
The train (no. 52541) leaves NJP at 9am and reaches Darjeeling at 4:15pm. Total distance is 88kms. The return train (no. 52540) departs Darjeeling at 9:15am. The train is hauled by a Diesel engine. It has one first class coach, two second class coaches and one second class cum luggage van. The train takes 7 hours and 15 minutes to complete the journey. You can also board the train from Siliguri Town or Siliguri Junction stations.  
 
Visit Darjeeling Toy Train Route & Journey in order to view the complete route of the toy train and station wise arrival & departure timings. Note: During the high tourist season, additional toy train service is offered. 
 
UPDATE February 2014: A section of the NJP-Darjeeling track (before Kurseong and near Pagla Jhora) has been lying damaged since June 2010 due to landslides. So currently there is no toy train from NJP to Darjeeling. However steam engine hauled toy trains are still operational between Kurseong and Darjeeling. If you want to ride the toy train on your way to Darjeeling, go over to Kurseong by road and then take a toy train ride to Darjeeling. However you need to take a different road (via Rohini or Pankhabari) to reach Kurseong as the Hill Cart Road (NH 55) is also damaged at the same point and is inaccessible. You will get taxis and shared jeeps from NJP/Siliguri and Bagdogra airport to reach Kurseong. This toy train ride from Kurseong to Darjeeling takes nearly 3 hours covering a distance of 31kms. Check out Route #3 for details. 
 
Route #2: New Jalpaiguri to Kurseong & Return 
This train usually runs during the high tourist season (April - June, September - October). The up train leaves NJP at 8:30am and reaches Kurseong at 1:10pm. The down train departs Kurseong at 2:30pm and arrives at NJP at 7pm. The train is pulled by a diesel engine and has three first class coaches and one first class coach cum luggage van. 
 
Route #3: Between Kurseong and Darjeeling 
The train (no. 52545) leaves Kurseong at 3pm reaching Darjeeling at 5:50pm. Total distance is 31kms. The down train (no. 52544) departs Darjeeling at 10:15am reaching Kurseong at 13:10pm. It is hauled by a Steam Engine having 2 or 3 coaches (number & combination of first and second class coaches vary). Note that the timings are subject to change. One way First Class fare is Rs. 160/- (indicative). 
 
There is also a daily school train that runs between Kurseong and Darjeeling. This steam hauled train starts from Kurseong at 7:00am in the morning (no. 52587) and reaches Darjeeling at 9:40am. The train returns from Darjeeling at 4pm (no. 52588) reaching Kurseong at 6:40pm in the evening. Note that the timings get changed depending on summer or winter season. 
 
How to book a regular DHR Toy Train Seat: You can buy tickets at any of the reservation counters in India or book online at the Indian Railway site www.irctc.co.in. You can also buy the tickets at any of the stations of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. 
 
Related Articles 
 
1) Check out DHR Toy Train Story to know about the complete story of the toy train including its history and how it was introduced as one of the highest mountain railways by the British. 
 
2) Check out Darjeeling Tours & Sightseeing for many other great tours and rides in Darjeeling. 
 
Visitors' Reviews/Comments 
 
Sandip Samaddar (November 2013) 
Hello Raj, I am planning to visit darjeeling on 8th jan 2014. I will be going from NJP station availing any shared jeep/cars. I have booked 2 toy train tickets (Darjeeling-Kurseong) from irctc website in 2nd class. Just want to ask that if the journey in 2nd class would be comfortable or not in the sense will we be getting the seats or the local commuters would grab them first. Should I cancel them and make arrangements in 1st class. If you can highlight the difference between both the classes. From Kurseong station how much time it takes to reach NJP station and what would be the price like so that I get an estimate and not get cheated there. Thanks. 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) November 2013 
Hi, First class coaches in toy trains have lesser seats (about 15) compared to Second class coaches (about 30 seats), and for obvious reasons they are more comfortable. But 2nd class coaches are also not bad and you will get seats. Kurseong to NJP takes about 1.5 hours by car/jeep. Shared jeep fare is about Rs 75-100/- per person, reserved small taxi about Rs. 1200/- 
 
Dipayan Das (November 2013) 
Hi Mr Raj, I'll be travelling in the toy train when returning from Darjeeling upto Kurseong. I'll be travelling with my parents nd will have 1 trolley bag and 1 medium size bag. I heard that there is not enough space to keep luggage. So should I book 1 extra ticket to keep my luggage? 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) November 2013 
Hi, Darjeeling Kurseong toy train is a commuters train and you should not carry big luggage. But between few of you, you can have one or two bags or small suit cases ... in India how big is big in such situations is never defined. So sometimes you can get away even with large suitcases. Considering minimum inconvenience to fellow passengers, use your own discretion. 
 
Gerry Rosenberg (October 2013) 
I will be visiting Darjeeling with my family in early January. The Toy Train sounds amazing. Our travel agent only wants us to take the Joy Ride. From what I've read, some of the most amazing parts of the trip occur way before that. So, my questions are: 
 
1. Is the train running the entire route (8 hours or so)? 
2. Would you recommend taking it? 
 
Thank you 
 
P.S. we are Americans living in Bangalore for 1 year. 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) October 2013 
Hi, The toy train is still not operational for the entire route. A part of the track is lying damaged just before Kurseong and there is no service up to this point. So you have couple of options ... either take the ride from Kurseong up to Darjeeling (takes about 3 hours ... the train leaves Kurseong at 3pm), or take the 2-hour round trip joy ride from Darjeeling. Unfortunately most of the amazing feats of track engineering (except one) are before Kurseong and you can't experience those until the the track is repaired ... I see slim chances of  that happening before Jan 2014. It's lying in the present state for the last 3 years.... it's another amazing story ... 
 
However both Kurseong - Darjeeling train or the joy ride will pass through Batasia Loop, a double spiral loop where the train negotiates an altitude of about 1000 ft as it completes the loop ... probably the most amazing part in the entire trip .... added to it is the wonderful view of Kanchenjunga snow peaks from Batasia. I would recommend the Joy Ride out of the two because the train has first class coaches, while the other one is a commuters train and runs only with second class coaches. 
 
Priyal Dmello (October 2013) 
Hi Raj Sir, Thanks a lot for your efforts for helping tourists. I have some queries. How many joyrides of toytrain run in Darjeeling? If there are 4, then can I book evening joyride? Which is from 16.00 to 18.00 hrs. Will there be sufficient daylight to enjoy this joyride and visit DHR museum? I am planing to visit Darjeeling on 07 Nov. 13. I am reaching NJP station by 06.00 am by Abadh Assam Exp. Is it ok to book afternoon joyride.(01.20pm). What is maximum time required to reach Darjeeling from NJP station by private car? 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) October 2013 
Hi, Usually four toy train joyride trips run everyday during high season. Whether it'll be reduced in November is something you can find out from the Indian Railway site (irctc.co.in) as you book your ticket. In November it gets dark around 5:30pm. If you reach NJP at 6am, you can take the afternoon ride. It takes about 3.5 hours to reach Darjeeling from NJP provided there are no delays on the way. 
 
Ranjan Kumar Dey (July 2013) 
Dear Raj, I have already booked for joyride on 16th Aug 2013. We are very much excited for the ride ( 7 member age 20 - 43yrs including 2 two-year old children). But is there any difficulties for the ride in monsoon season? I came to know from one of my friends, DHR provides food during the ride and it is included in fare. Is it right? Please help me. Regards 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) July 2013 
Hi Ranjan, There is no food in DHR (other than the Safari ride which takes place from NJP). The joyrides takes place in the monsoon season as well. You will often find a person standing in front of the engine sprinkling sand on the tracks. Due to the gradient the train often skids. The sand ensures that it moves on. 
 
Patrick Brown (May 2013) 
What is the current status of this train. I will be in the area in October 2013. Is it likely that the train will be fully operational or only partly in service and if so, what portion will be operational. 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) May 2013 
Your question can be best answered by Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR). The track is lying damaged for the past 3 years. So hoping that it'll be repaired in the next 3 months looks rather unlikely. While funding has been the main issue, the terrain of the damaged track also makes it difficult to repair. The landslide has almost completely washed away the landmass and the track here virtually hangs in a deep gorge. Currently the section between Kurseong and Darjeeling is operational and likely to remain so through this year. 
 
Nitin K Aviral (May 2013) 
Your website is very informative. One can plan his/her holiday with ease. Somebody misled me about the joyride train information but I came to know about its exact scenario from your site and booked my ticket for 14/06/2013. Thank you for your great work.   
 
Marishaa Singh (May 2013) 
I'll be visiting Darjeeling June 7th to 10th 2013. While we have booked tickets for the joy ride to Ghum we are unable to find any information on the railtourism or the irctc sites for the Safari rides or the timings. Can you help please? Will they run the train during the weekend? Or we just keep checking? Thanks 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) May 2013 
You need to keep checking the railtourism site time to time. There is no other way to know. Usually they come out with the packages by now. 
 
Harleen Kaur (March 2013) 
Hi, I am visiting Darjeeling and Gangtok from 24th March 2013 to 31st March (i.e. two days from now). I want to book tickets of toy train online but not available till 31st of March. Is there a general class for which I can buy the ticket on the spot. I don't want to miss this opportunity to travel in toy train. Please guide me what to do. Also, which place should I visit first Darjeeling or Gangtok. And is Nathula pass open at this time of year? Warm Regards, 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) March 2013 
Hi, There is no general class in the toy train that runs from Darjeeling for Ghoom joy ride. It's all first class seats. Once you reach Darjeeling, you can ask a tour operator to see if they can help. Otherwise, you can take the regular toy train for Kurseong (starts around 10am). This is not a joyride, but all the same. Get off at Ghoom and return by shared jeep or taxi. You will have a similar experience. Not many know about this option, so you should get tickets. But this is a second class train... doesn't matter. It's nice. It doesn't matter which place you visit first, Darjeeling or Gangtok. 
 
Judith Williams (February 2013) 
Regarding the mountain railway, I note your comment to travellers that there is no space for large luggage on the train, we are on a round the world trip and a ride on the railway is an important part of the journey for my husband who is a railway enthusiast, is there anywhere to store luggage securely at NJP? 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) February 2013 
Hi, Yes, there is a Cloak Room at NJP station where you can securely keep your luggage. Passenger and commercial luggage are kept in separate rooms. There is a nominal charge (Rs. 10 per bag) per day for passenger luggage. You must have valid inward or onward Indian railway ticket to avail this facility. Note that due to security reasons, all your bags in the cloak room must be individually locked. The station authority will not accept any luggage which is unlocked even if it is a backpack. For soft bags or backpacks, wrap it around with a chain that should pass through the flaps and then lock it. The service is often quite slow. So on your way back, do not come just 10 minutes before the train departs and expect to get your bags back in time. Regards, 
 
Tom Hadley (February 2013) 
Hi I like your site. It is very well set out and informative. I wonder could you assist with some up to date information about the toy train, do you know if it is running at the moment or if it only runs between certain places. I realise that you are not a travel agent. Thanks in anticipation of your assistance 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) February 2013 
Hi, There is no toy train from NJP all the way to Darjeeling yet. A section of the track just before Kurseong is still lying damaged since June 2010 due to landslides. They say there is no fund to repair ... amazing but true. You have two options... 
 
1) Come up to Kurseong by road (not the Hill Cart Road that runs side by side the toy train track. That road too is damaged at the same point. There is another alternative road used these days up to Kurseong). From there take the toy train up to Darjeeling. However you need to time it correctly with the departure time of the toy train, and also keep in mind that you can't carry heavy luggage in a toy train. 
 
2) Take the two hour toy train joy ride from Darjeeling up to Ghoom and back. There are 4 such rides everyday during high season. Most prefer this option. But you should book your tickets well in advance.  
 
P.S: The sections above provide all the details of Toy Train services, schedules and how to book the tickets. 
 
Tanusree Hazra (February 2013) 
There are only 4 tickets available in the toy train and we have 7 members. So is there any other option to take the ride? 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) February 2013 
From Darjeeling, take the toy train to Kurseong, get off at Ghoom and come back by car/shared jeep. It leaves Darjeeling in the morning (around 10am). Similar experience. 
 
Rashmi Sahu (January 2013) 
Sir, thought of taking the toy train from Darjeeling to Kurseong on May 2. Wanted to know if we could take our luggage along as we are planning for a stay in maikabari tea estate, and then take our train back from Silliguri. Thanks. (we can book one more ticket.for the luggage to keep ) 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) January 2013 
Hello, Luggage space in the passenger coaches of the toy train is very limited. If the train has a luggage van (which is usually a part of the second class coach), then carrying luggage won't be a problem. You will need to check the coach composition with Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. If there is no luggage van (which is quite likely for Darjeeling to Kurseong section), then don't plan to carry heavy luggage. Note that May is high tourist season and the trains are likely to be full. 
 
Marcus (October 2012) 
Hello Raj, we (2 Persons) are travelling with an Indrail pass trough India and we want to visit Darjeeling at Christmas 2012. Is it necessary to reserve the train rides for the 24th from New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling and for the 25th the train rides to Ghoom and Kurseong in advance? Do you have the timetables for the trains between this towns for the 25th of December? Greetings to India 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) October 2012 
Hi Marcus, There is no toy train from New Jalpaiguri (NJP) up to Darjeeling these days.. A section of the track between NJP to Kurseong is damaged and has remained this way for the last couple of years. So I doubt it would be repaired before Christmas. Yes, you should reserve all joy rides in advance as there would be lots of tourists during that time.  
 
Linda Anderson (October 2012) 
Hi Raj, Do you think there will be any problem getting a steam train journey from Kuresong to Darjeeling if we go to the station at Kurseong on the day of travel? Also do you just turn up on the day to take the joy ride from Darjeeling to Ghoom and back or should we try to book in advance? If we do, can you give me the name and e-mail details of a Darjeeling based travel agent who may be able to help. Thank you. 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) 
Hi Linda, Usually there is no problem turning up and buying the tickets at the station. You can plan to do that for Kurseong to Darjeeling. End Nov is a low season, so I don't expect the coaches to get full, but you never know. Darjeeling to Ghoom joy ride is a far more popular trip with the tourists, and you can buy the tickets at Darjeeling station. Although it's unlikely to go full around that time, try to book this one in advance. I have mentioned some Darjeeling based Tour & Travel Agents here: Tours & Trek Operators. You can try contacting some of them, particularly 'AmigosTours & Treks' 
 
Pande (September 2012) 
Could you please tell me if the "toy" train is in operation for travel from NJP to Darjeeling during an early October visit to the area... I cannot find it available for booking through IRCTC. Thank you 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) 
A section of the toy train track between NJP and Kurseong was damaged in 2010 due to landslide. It has remained un-repaired until now apparently due to lack of funds. It's unlikely that it would be operational soon. However, if you want to take a joy ride, take the 2-hour toy train round trip ride from Darjeeling to Ghoom and back (operates twice daily). Try to book the ticket in advance. If you find it difficult to get the booking option online through IRCTC site, go to an online railway booking counter and inquire. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
__________________________________________ 
By Raj Bhattacharya 
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