How to book Toy Train Rides 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. 
Steam Engine Toy Train at Batasia Loop, Darjeeling 
Toy Train Darjeeling 
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. 
And booking the seats online through the Indian Railway's site is tricky because they do not properly explain the process, particularly when it comes to booking the roundtrip joyride from Darjeeling to Ghum and back. 
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 of 16kms. 
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 to let you soak in the great views of Mt. Kanchenjunga snow peaks 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 (diesel engine, takes about 7 hours one-way), or between Kurseong and Darjeeling (diesel engine, takes about 2 and half hours each way). 
Update: Effective May 2016, foreigners can use the Indian Railway Website to make online train bookings in India including DHR Toy Train rides. There is an option for using International Card. 
Recommended Resources 
  • The eBook on Darjeeling &áSikkim is a great resource to plan your tour and get deep insights into various attractions of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Sikkim including trips, tours and rides. 
    Here are the different types of DHR toy train rides and how you can book a seat. 

    Booking a 2-hour Toy Train Joyride

    (Darjeeling to Ghum and Back) 
    There are several ways you can book the DHR Joyride itself. 
    OPTION-1) The best way is to book online using this Indian Railways Website (IRCTC). Here you will first need to register or sign up for an account. 
    It's free and quite easy. Only after logging into your own account in the website, you can complete the booking. 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 stands for 'To Darjeeling'. 
    Now enter the date of your travel (presently you can book a toy train seat maximum 4 months in advance), and choose 'All Classes' and hit the 'Search' button. You will then see all the toy train joyrides available for the date chosen. 
    You should carefully check the names of each train shown for the day... there are usually several such joyrides available on a day and each having a unique train number and a name. 
    The name of the train will indicate whether it's a train hauled by a diesel engine, or a steam engine, or if it has vistadome coaches (vistadome coaches have much larger glass windows and offer better views). 
    Steam engine rides are more expensive than Diesel engine rides, because the steam engine hauled DHR toy trains are the original heritage trains and are costlier to maintain. 
    While entering your names/sex/age etc, ignore the choice of berths. The system issues 'e-ticket' so that you get a soft copy of the ticket and print it yourself. 
    Update: Effective November 2021, the Paytm App has been integrated with the Indian Railways System and if you have the Paytm app installed on your mobile, you can also book all DHR toy train rides online through the app and generate Digital Tickets using your PNR through the app. 
    The process of booking through Paytm is similar. Open the app, go to the 'Ticket Booking' section, and tap on the 'Train Tickets' option, and then provide the Source and Destination station (station codes are the same as discussed above), date of travel etc, and proceed with the booking. 
    OPTION-2) You can book at any of the computerized reservation counters in India. You will pay the same fare as in online booking through 
    OPTION-3) You can also get tickets at Darjeeling Railway Station. If you decide to book a ride while in Darjeeling, you can call them up and check the availability before you go to the station. Phone (Inquiry): +91 354-2252555. 
    During low tourist seasons, there is usually no problems in getting tickets at Darjeeling Station. 
    OPTION-4) If you have difficulty booking the tickets online, you can request your hotel or 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. 
    Some of them may ask for a separate fee for such service, but they usually entertain the toy train bookings only if you have booked their rooms or a tour package. They do not usually offer such assistance as a stand-alone service. 

    Booking NJP to Darjeeling Toy Train ride

    There are a couple of DHR toy trains operating between NJP (New Jalpaiguri) and Darjeeling. 
    One is a daily passenger train (NJP DJ PASSENGER - 52541) which usually has a first class (FC) coach and an AC Chair Car (CC) coach. This is a diesel engine hauled train and a one-way journey takes about 7 hours 20 minutes.  
    The other train is an AC Passenger Train (NJP DJ AC PASS - 52539) which runs thrice a week (Mon, Wed, Sat from NJP and Tue, Thu, Sun from Darjeeling). This too is a diesel engine hauled train and the journey takes about 8 hours each way. 
    Best is to book these trains online through the Indian Railways Website (IRCTC). You can also do it through Paytm app. 
    Once you log into your account in irctc website, for New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling, enter NJP at the 'From Station' and DJ at 'To Station'. Reverse the order of station codes for source and destination if your journey is other way. 
    Enter the journey date and proceed. It will show you the trains, coach class, fares etc. You can go ahead and book. The maximum advance reservation period is 4 months (120 days). 
    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. 

    Booking Kurseong to Darjeeling Toy Train ride

    An additional First Class (FC) coach, known as slip coach, gets added to the daily NJP Darjeeling Passenger Train (52541) at Kurseong. 
    In order to book seats on this slip coach for a journey between Kurseong and Darjeeling, the railways system uses a separate train no. 02451 (KGN DJ SLIP TRN). For the reverse journey, the train no. used is 02540 (here the slip coach gets detached at Kurseong). 
    As in the case of the other toy train rides, you can also book this one through the Indian Railways Website (IRCTC). Use the source station code as KGN (which stands for Kurseong) and the destination code as DJ (i.e. Darjeeling). 
    Enter the date of journey and proceed. The system will show you the train and date-wise availability. The rest of the process is same as that of booking the other toy train rides discussed in the above sections. 

    How to book Toy Train Jungle Safari

    Jungle Safari toy train runs between Siliguri Junction and Tindharia via Rangtong and back going through the dense forests of Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary and also passing through a loop and Z-Reverse. 
    Earlier one could book the Jungle Safari ride online through the Indian Railways Website (IRCTC) when the train had scheduled runs. One could use the source station code as SGUJ (Siliguri Junction) and destination station code as SGUD. 
    One could also manually book the safari from any railway reservation counter. 
    However, due to lack of demand, Jungle Safari is now offered as a privately chartered train for large groups. The usual train composition consists of two first class coaches hauled by a diesel engine. 
    For details on fares and how to book such a charter toy train, go through DHR Toy Train Charters

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    Visitors' Reviews/Comments

    Rebecca (July 2023) 
    Very helpful and detailed information about booking the Darjeeling Joyride. The tip about how to make a return booking with DJ - DJRZ was very helpful as nowhere else did I see that and irctc definitely did not have that information. 
    The tip about the vista option having bigger windows also was helpful and helped me make the best booking for my needs. Just wanted to say thank you and I look forward to the trip. 
    Sherley (May 2023) 
    Thanks for helping with the station code tip, till then I was struggling to figure out how to book in irctc 
    Vijay (May 2023) 
    I made use of information provided on your site to book Darjeeling joyride tickets on Paytm. Most helpful. Thank you. 
    Rajiv (January 2023) 
    Hello Raj, IRCTC website indicates only First Class on both the 52544 and 52598 Joyridevista trains for Feb 2023. Does that mean all coaches in this train are vistadomes or only FC is available and the vistadome coach is booked out. Thanks. 
    Raj ( January 2023 
    The joyride trains that you mentioned are named STMJOYRIDEVISTA which are Steam Engine hauled trains with all Vistadome Coaches. Note that Vistadome coaches are also shown as First Class (FC) coaches. 
    Jinia Halder (January 2023) 
    Hello, I have booked 'Joy Ride', Darjeeling, in May 2023. The ticket shows the ride from Darjeeling to Ghum. The ticket fare is 1000/-. Do I need to book the return from Ghum to Darjeeling? Kindly advise. 
    Raj ( January 2023 
    Hello, The joyrides are always a Darjeeling- Ghum- Darjeeling return trips, you don't need to buy a separate return ticket. 
    Satrajit (December 2021) 
    Hi - I'm trying to book our ride tickets on IRCTC site. The site is not accepting DJ and DJRZ as from/to - says the route is not operating due to COVID19. However, I see DJ GHUM as an option. It shows Joyride roundtrip 52590. But this is a 50 minute ride and route shows its just Darjeeling to Ghum. So I tried a return ticket but then the site says that route is not operational. The whole point is to do the ride including Batasia loop. Can you advise? Am I doing something wrong? 
    Raj ( December 2021 
    Hi, you are not doing anything wrong. It appears there is a glitch in the IRCTC system and I have been noticing this for a while... I know that the railway operators who define the trains in the backend database, commit mistakes at times (for example, giving incorrect station codes for a train) and that can go unnoticed. 
    You will see that the system is accepting DJ and DJRZ as the station combination for nearer dates (for example 4th December 2021) and showing a few trains with the correct trip duration (which is 1 hour 50 minutes round trip). For dates beyond 10th December, it is only accepting DJ and GHUM as the station combination and showing an incorrect trip duration of 40 or 50 minutes. However, the fare shown in the second case is the same as the original round trip. Actually, there is no one-way trip in toy train joyrides... it's always a round trip with stoppages at Ghum and Batasia. So I guess if you purchase a ticket with the DJ/GHUM combination, you should be okay... but who knows? 
    The Covid-19 message it displays is a generic one and the same message pops up for any invalid pair of stations you enter. Unfortunately, we have to wait until the Railways notices this glitch and rectifies the problem. In reality, the toy train joyrides from Darjeeling are operating in full swing and there are no Covid related issues as of now. 
    BKA Chowdhury (October 2021) 
    Dear Mr Raj, Many thanks for your feedback and much appreciated. I followed your blog on the Toy train booking, the registration process on IRTC is not going through which is mandatory for the booking. Is there any travel agent at Darjeeling who I could contact? 
    I have noted your blog listing a few travel agents but none have published that they could do the Toy train booking to and fro from Darjeeling. Shall appreciate your kind advisory in this regard. With Best Regards  
    Raj ( October 2021 
    Hello, Tour operators usually agree to buy toy train tickets when you also take a tour package through them. They are unlikely to show interest in buying just the train tickets. Your only other option is to request your hotel, sometimes they do take such requests, but not always. 
    Eileen (April 2021) 
    Hi Raj, Great insights! Is it possible to book 2 separate toy train tickets, one from Darjeeling to Ghoom and then from Ghoom to Dareeling? We are planning to take the toy train from Darjeeling to Ghoom and do some sight seeing there. We would like to take the train back from Ghoom to Darj later in the day. We will visit in end April. Would highly appreciate your reply. 
    Raj ( April 2021 
    Hi, the toy train joy ride fares are based on round-trip tickets from Darjeeling and you can not purchase a one-way ticket. There are other toy trains also that run between Darjeeling and Kurseong as well as Darjeeling and New Jalpaiguri that have stops at Ghum, and you can buy one-way tickets on those trains (they follow the same route as the joy rides), but currently, they are suspended due to the pandemic situation. Only joy rides are operational at present. 
    Shria Majumdar (November 2020) 
    I would like to know that what is the toy train timing from siliguri to ghum? the main query is whether I am allowed to buy regular tickets from siliguri station for toy train and at present days toy train is running in this pandemic situation or not? kindly let me know as soon as ápossible. 
    Raj ( November 2020 
    Toy train schedules and timings are published in Indian Railways website ( Currently, the toy train is suspended until further notice. 
    Sumit S (March 2019) 
    Thanks a lot for such wonderful guidance which are helping thousands of tourists from across the world on a daily basis. I wish to know if there is any way to book the cheaper rate ticket (RS.30) online for DJ-Ghum-DJ route. I had tried to book tickets via IRCTC website but it is showing only First class. 
    Raj ( March 2019 
    The toy train joy ride (Darj-Ghum-Darj) only has First Class coaches. 
    Shannon Tribe (October 2017) 
    I am enquiring about making a booking on the NJP DJ 52541 from New Jalpaiguri Jn. to Darjeeling on either the 22nd, 23rd or 24th of December. I am a foreign tourist so it says there is no availability. Is that because the booking for that time is not open yet for foreign tourists or is there only a general quota on that train. It appears that there is space under general quota. Can I book under this quota as a single female foreign tourist. 
    Raj ( October 2017 
    Hi, when booking opens, it opens for all including Indians and foreigners. You can also book against general quota seats as a foreigner. Foreign Tourist quota is a small number of seats which are kept aside for foreigners and not available for Indians. If Foreign Tourist Quota is not available, a foreigner can book on general quota. 
    Farha Noor Rahman (January 2017) 
    Hello, I am from Bangladesh and me along with my two friends are planning for Darjeeling this March. I am a little bit confused about booking/ buying tickets for the toy train by using my international credit card from Bangladesh. I mean, is it possible to book the tickets from Bangladesh? Otherwise we would miss this amazing historical ride as we have no friends or relatives in India who could book the tickets on behalf of us. Thanks in advance. 
    Raj ( January 2017 
    You can now book the toy train online through the website using international credit cards. There is a separate option for international cards. 
    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 ( 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 ( 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 ( 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 ( 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 ( 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 ( 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 (, March 2013) 
    Hi, For the Heritage Safari, you will need to check the 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.