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Indian Railways introduces new toy-train safari on Darjeeling Himalayan Railway route

The Jungle tea safari service of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway's (DHR) narrow gauge locomotive, also known as the 'Toy Train' ferries passengers close to Rongtong station. (AFP)Premium
The Jungle tea safari service of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway's (DHR) narrow gauge locomotive, also known as the 'Toy Train' ferries passengers close to Rongtong station. (AFP)

  • Tourists can enjoy the breathtaking views of Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary and the hills from the toy train. It is a three-hour journey and after reaching Rongtong station they will come back to Siliguri junction again

Indian Railways in a bid to provide boost to the covid-hit tourism sector has decided to launch a regular Jungle Tea Toy-Train Safari from Siliguri junction to Rongtong station in West Bengal.

Indian Railways’ Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) zone which operates the world-famous Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) has announced the new service.

The toy train on this route was declared a UNESCO ‘World Heritage Site’ in 1999. Both heritage steam locos built between 1889 and 1927 as well as modern diesel engines are used to pull the toy trains that are widely popular among foreign tourists and domestic travellers.

Railway officials are making an attempt to revive the tourism industry after the regular toy train services were suspended around one and half years ago due to Covid-19 pandemic in the country.

Tourists can enjoy the breathtaking views of Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary and the hills from the toy train. It is a three-hour journey and after reaching Rongtong station they will come back to Siliguri junction again.

Sanjay Chilwarwar, ADRM, Katihar division of Northeast frontier railway said, "We have started a regular basis up-down jungle tea toy-train safari from today with the heritage steam engine and Vistadome dining car facilities. Tourism is the only industry in this region. So we decided to run maximum toy trains in this route to attract the tourists and to gear up the tourism industry in this region. He said that they are getting a good response, people are asking questions and in the future, it will be a part of major attraction," as quoted by news agency ANI.

Samrat Sanyal, secretary of, Himalayan Hospitality and Tourism Development Network said, "It was very interesting and exciting."

As a part of the tourism industry, we come to the NFR initiative and believe tourists will enjoy the service and local people also get a chance to travel on weekend tours.

The railway authority will also open a DHR heritage photo gallery at Sukna station during the journey and offer a complimentary cup of Darjeeling tea at Rongtong station

Meanwhile, The heritage toy train services between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling in West Bengal resumed on Wednesday after a 17-month gap due to COVID-19 pandemic, an official said. Already, the toy train was on the tracks between Darjeeling and Ghum since August 16. At present, one train will run daily in each direction between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling, covering a distance of 88 km. It is currently running 11 round trips between Darjeeling and Ghum using both vista dome and first class coaches.

The train ascends from about 100 metres above mean sea level at New Jalpaiguri to about 2,200 metres at Darjeeling.

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