Thursday, 12 December 2013

Darjeeling Part 9: The Toy Train Is Not A Toy Train

When I first heard that I was going for a Toy Train ride I wasn't sure what I was going for. The term Toy Train sounds cute but a ride on Toy Train? Whatever is that? I was soon to find out.
The Toy Train is officially known as Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. "Toy Train" is just a pet name or the affectionate name for this railway that runs between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling in West Bengal. The Toy Train provides a means of transport for the mountain people but they also operate a number of tourist train services.
Our Toy Train ride, also called Joyride is specially created for tourist to experience a short train ride on a heritage railway. Our journey which is a 2 hour return ride from Darjeeling to Ghum started at 4pm from Darjeeling Railway Station. 
[Pic: Darjeeling Railway station]
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway which was completed in 1881 has been accorded a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
While most toy trains use diesel-powered locomotives, the locomotive for our Joyride train is powered by coal.
It was a very "sooty" ride for me. The roof of our carriage was covered with soot.
The window sill was also covered with soot. As I was sitting near the window, I could feel small particles blowing at my face which eventually deposited on my jeans and jacket.
[Remember not to wear your favourite clothes if you are going for the toy train ride]
The Toy Train moves parallel to main roads and are very close to shops and residences. To warn residents about the approaching train the engines are equipped with very loud horns which hoot incessantly. [ This picture is courtesy of photographer, Arne Huckelheim]
Taking the ride however is a good way to see the suburbs of Darjeeling.
Beautiful scenery of the mountains beyond.
Toot Toot here comes the Toy Train!  Notice the toy train track gauge is exceptionally narrow. (only 2 feet wide)
Our Toy train stopped at Batasia Loop for 10 minutes. We were free to walk around the park.
and to take photographs. [Pic: The War Memorial, Batasia Loop]
Our train stopped at Ghum Railway Station for half an hour to refuel. We were free to visit Ghum Museum.
There's nothing much here really. 
Our ride finally ended at 6.20pm at Darjeeling Railway Station.

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1 comment :

Swathi said...

It was new thing thing to know about darjeeling to train train.Thank you for sharing the information about this as it is something new to me and i loved reading it and exploring it.Planning to travel to darjeeling and enjoy the beauty of place the book tickets KPN Travels

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