Last Updated: December 15, 2016 

How to book
Toy Train Joyrides in Darjeeling

 
While in Darjeeling, who doesn't want to ride the heritage toy train of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR)? After all, this is the first public transport that was built by the British to make a train move along the steep gradient of the Himalayas and connect the lower plains with Darjeeling hill town. 
 
It's not about just the heritage and the history, it's also about experiencing one of the engineering marvels where many amazing loops and zig zags had to be created to negotiate the steep gradients in the mountains. It's also about enjoying the breathtaking beauty of the Himalayas as you take a relaxed lazy ride on this cute mini train that runs on a narrow gauge track. 
 
 
 
However I have been getting many questions about how to book this joyride in advance. Because it is not easy to get tickets on the spot, particularly during the high tourist season when seats get filled up well in advance. 
 
There are several Toy Train services. The popular Toy Train Joyride in Darjeeling takes place for a duration of two hours. This is a round trip. The train starts from Darjeeling station, goes up to Ghum, makes a brief halt at the Ghum station so that you can take a look at DHR Museum, and then on its way back stops at Batasia Loop for soaking in the great views of Kanchenjunga as well as Darjeeling town on the hill slope, and then returns to Darjeeling. For longer rides, you can take the toy train between NJP and Darjeeling, or between Kurseong and Darjeeling. 
 
Here are the different types of DHR toy train rides and how you can book a seat. 
 
Update: Effective May 2016, foreigners can use the Indian Railway website www.irct.co.in to make online train bookings in India including DHR Toy Train. There is an option for using International Card. 
 
Booking a 2-hour Toy Train Joyride (Darjeeling to Ghum and Back) 
There are several ways you can book the DHR Joyride itself. 
 
1) The best way is to book online and use the Indian Railway website www.irct.co.in. Here you will first have to sign up for an account. It's free and quite easy. Only after logging into your own account in the website, you can make the bookings. But carefully note the following points: 
 
While finding the trains for joyrides, you will need to enter the source station code as DJ (which stands for Darjeeling). For the destination station, the station should again be Darjeeling because it's a round trip. But the web-form does not accept the same station code for both source and destination. This is a limitation of the website. So for the destination code, you should enter DJRZ which also stands for Darjeeling (meaning 'To Darjeeling'). 
 
Use the ticket type as 'e-ticket' so that you get a soft copy of the ticket and print it yourself. Use the quota type as 'General'. You will then see all the joyride toy trains running for the date chosen. While entering your names/sex/age etc, ignore the choice of berths. Usually there are four joyrides offered (timings can and do change): 
 
a) Train No.: 52546 (8am - á10am) 
b) Train No.: 52548 (10.40am - 12.40pm) 
c) Train No.: 52549 (13.20pm - 15.20pm) 
d) Train No.: 52547 (16.05pm - 18.05pm) 
 
NOTE: All are currently First Class coaches. The one at 8am is Diesel engine hauled and has lower fare. The others are steam engine hauled and have higher fares. 
 
2) Another way of booking the joyride is through the site www.irctctourism.com. This is the tourism site of Indian Railways. To find the joyrides, click on 'Tourist Trains' and select DHR Joyride. But note that the ticket rates are higher here. The cancellation charges are also higher. So your preferred way of online booking should be using the first option I mentioned above. Update January 2016: Only Toy Train Charters can now be booked through this option. 
 
3) You can book at any of the computerized reservation counters in India. You will pay the same fare as in online booking through irctc.co.in. 
 
4) You can also get tickets at Darjeeling Railway Station (Phone: +91 354-2252555). If you decide to take the ride while in Darjeeling, you can call them up and check the availability before you go to the station for booking. 
 
5) If you have difficulty booking the tickets online, you can request your hotel áor tour operator in Darjeeling to help you book seats in the toy train. Several hotels, guesthouses and operators do so. They will need a scanned or photo copy of your Photo ID (passport in case of foreigners) to book the tickets across the counter. 
 
 
 
How to book Toy Train Jungle Safari 
You can book the safari online through www.irctc.co.in railway website. For source station use SGUJ (station code for Siliguri Junction), and for destination station use SGUD which is another station code for Siliguri Junction (it can not be the same because it's a round trip to the same place). You can also manually book this safari across any railway reservation counter including at Siliguri Junction. 
 
Booking NJP-Darjeeling or Regular Toy Train ride 
This is a diesel engine hauled train and the journey takes about 7 hours each way. Best is to book online through Indian Railway site www.irctc.co.in
 
Once you log into your account in irctc website, use the 'Plan my Journey' form. For New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling, enter NJP at the 'From Station' and DJ at 'To Station'. For travel to other intermediate stations, in 'To Station' use GHUM for Ghum, KGN for Kurseong etc depending on your destination (reverse the order of station codes for source and destination if your journey is other way). 
 
Enter the journey date, choose 'E-ticket' option and proceed. It will show you the trains, coach class, fares etc. You can go ahead and book. The train that runs between Darjeeling and NJP is named 'DJ NJP PASSENGER', and the one between Darjeeling and Kurseong is 'DJ KGN NG TRAIN'. 
 
Like any other normal train, you can also book seats and buy tickets for all these toy trains from any computerized Indian railway reservation counter across the country. 
 
 
 
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Visitors' Reviews/Comments 
 
Avijite Ghosh (March 2016) 
I am from Bangladesh. I have already traveled to Darjeeling last year. I am planning to go Darjeeling in next May. Last time I missed taking a ride on Toy train. Now I want to know how can I book tickets before arriving in Darjeeling as a foreigner. Please help on this. By the way you have a wonderful website on Darjeeling I have ever seen. Thanks a lot for such a website. 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) March 2016 
Unfortunately foreigners can not book train tickets online any longer through Indian Railway site due to requirement of payment using card issued in India and an Indian mobile number. You can engage a tour operator in Darjeeling. They can book across the counter. However they will ask for a scanned copy of your passport. 
 
Jon Strachan (February 2016) 
Hi Raj, Our trip is all but organised. We still cannot get tickets for toy train Darjeeling to NJP via Cleartrip. Is it running at the moment? Maybe I just have to buy them in Darjeeling? 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) February 2016 
Hi, Yes it's running. Get hold of a tour operator to help. They would need copy of your passport. Indian railway site IRCTC now requires Indian mobile number as well as credit/debit card issued in India to do the bookings. Otherwise take a chance on arrival. 
 
Steve Kenyon (February 2016) 
Hi mate, thanks for the very extensive, and super helpful advice. I've been to over 60 countries, but still got totally bamboozled trying to book the toy train. The Travel Agent sent me to Reservations - after a long line up they sent 
me to the Ticket Office - who sent me back to Reservations - only, after another long line up to be given a form to fill out .. agggh ! .. but yes mate, any more details on the Toy Train would be great. Keep up the good work. 
 
Partha Roy (February 2016) 
I wish to thank you. It becomes so easy to book Joyride ticket because of your nice and well documented info. 
 
Rajesh (May 2015) 
Hello Raj, Greetings. I need an info on Joy ride train. We are travelling on 28th May to darjeeling. I would like to book Joy ride train in the evening slot. We are two in No. But there is only 1 available ticket. Is there any chance generally people canceling tickets for these trains. For any other train I would have booked because people cancel tickets. But is that same here. Are there chances people cancel ticket ? 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) May 2015 
There are chances of cancellation as in any other trains, more so now because of steep fare hikes in joy rides. Nobody would like to waste that amount of money if one is unable to take the ride. 
 
Amit (April 2015) 
Hi. Couldn't thank u enough for the various helpful tips u have given. We could enjoy the joyride only because of the online booking which was made easy by the info on dual codes. 
 
Deshni Naidoo (March 2015) 
Thanks for the advice. For international travellers I recommend using Cleartrip Bookings as opposed to IRCTC directly (you still need an IRCTC account though) as Cleartrip accepts international credit cards and IRCTC no longer does. 
 
Denise Burchette (October 2014) 
Instructions for booking the joyride that included the tip on getting around the Indian Railway website limitations by using two different codes for Darjeeling Station is VERY helpful. THANK YOU! 
 
Sayantan Chatterjee (October 2014) 
I fully agree with post by Denise Burchette (October 2014) cause while searching DJ to GHUM, irctc (for booking) showing "BOOKING NOT ALLOWED FOR GIVEN PAIR OF STATIONS ". I got a little bit confused whether it has an advance time period of less than 60 days or not. But after entering DJ to DJRZ, it's OK ... present fare shows INR 400/- 
 
Ar. Imtiaz Farid Chowdhury (September 2013) 
I am a Bangladeshi and planning to travel to Darjeeling from Oct 15 to Oct 20, 2013. I am not able to buy toy train ride tickets of Oct 19, 2013 (Morning 1/2 day tour) from IRCTC.COM web site due to some regulations of Indian railway for buying tickets by international credit cards as they have introduced some hard and fast rules. Due to peak season in October, is there any chance to buy 4 tickets from the station counter on the day before journey. Pls advice me accordingly. 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) September 2013 
It'll be difficult to get tickets across the counter during high season. But you can try the morning (first) joyride. That's your best chances. Otherwise, contact a tour operator in Darjeeling and ask him to book the tickets for you. You can either do a bank transfer or pay him through paypal. 
 
Niladri Sikhar Ghosh (June 2013) 
Raj - Unfortunately planned for this Darjeeling trip pretty late in full season. Travelling with my 9 year old daughter and badly wanted her to experience the Darjeeling-Ghum Joy ride. However could not manage to secure any ticket using IRCTC. Is there any option of booking tickets on the spot? 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) June 2013 
You can get spot booking at Darjeeling station if seats become available due to cancellations. Otherwise unfortunately there is no other way. But usually some seats are always available in the 8am train. You can always try that. But you should be at the Darjeeling station by 7am. Another way is to buy tickets for the Darjeeling-Kurseong train (all 2nd class seats) that leaves Darjeeling around 10am. It's not a joy ride but takes the same route and similar experience. Get off at Ghoom and come back by shared jeep or taxi. You will at least have one way (one hour ride) experience which is actually good enough. Good luck! 
 
Prasanta Kumar Paul (May 2013) 
Dear Sir, Good afternoon. I have booked the Rooms at Darjeeling Tourist Lodge for 3 days. Reaching NJP on 30.05.2013 by Padatik Express. Same day I have booked the Joy ride (16:00 - 18:00) for Ghum &áback to Darjeeling. At the time of booking I have seen that The Joy Ride train starting it's journey from "Darjeeling" and coming to "To Darjeeling". What is the distance from DTL to Darjeeling &áTo Darjeeling Rly. Station? Thanks &áRegards. 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) May 2013 
Since the joyride is a round trip, therefore the source and destination stations are the same but with different codes (names) to solve a technical problem in the reservation system. Both stations are the same. From Darjeeling Tourist Lodge (Mall Area), the Darjeeling Station will be about 2kms. 
 
Sarat Behera (March 2013) 
Going to visit Darjeeling last week of mar 13. Found it completely informative. Thanks Raj for making such a website. Few queries could you please resolve: 
 
1.Whether Siliguri Junction and Tindharia Station DHR Toy Train Heritage Safari (Jungle Safari, Holiday Specials) is running during march 13. I have checked it from IRCTC website but could not get any information in this regard. 
2. When is holi-13 in Darjeeling. 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com, March 2013) 
Hi, For the Heritage Safari, you will need to check the railtourismindia.com site from time to time. They announce the rides during summer time. I doubt it would be available in March. It may start from April/May. Date for Holi would be same all across West Bengal.