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India By Rail: The Toy (Joy) Trains

Joy- Ride up the Hill!

The Toy (Joy) TrainsHey , Rail enthusiasts! If you have some time to spare, then take a slow toy train up to the hill resort of Shimla , Ooty (Udhagamandalam), Darjeeling or Matheran.

There is nothing to match the emperience of chugging up the hills , past little hamlets and terraced fields, making your way through tunnels and over breathtaking bridges. Its leisurely pace offer you a panoramic View of changing vistas . The invigorating air and the delights of scenic hill resort provide a welcome respite frim the hustle and bustle of the city. So folks! Are you reacy , to start on an out -of -the ordinary journey up to the hills?

Shimla:
The toy train journey from Kalka to shimla is entrancingt with 107 tunnels and lofty arched bridges. The dazzling view and the stops at the picturesque stations along the way - Dharmpore,Taksal, Gamma and Solan, all add up to an exhilarating experience.

Aceess to Shimla:
Shimla is connected by a broad gauge line up to Kalka from Kalka to Shimla, 'the toy train' cover 96 km of track in six hours.

The Toy (Joy) TrainsOoty (Udhagamandalam):
The nilgiri Mountain Railway starts from the town of mettupalayam and thus begins a journey full of twists and turns ,as this narrow gauge train ascends 46 km, on its way to the hill resort ot Ooty. At a maximum speed of 33 km per hour , this 'toy train' treks across plains , plantations and forest clad hills . The 16 tunnel and tall girder bridges on the way, along with the breathtaking view, make this toy train journey to Ooty , something not to be missed.

Access to Ooty:
Ooty is connected by a narrow gauge line from Mettupalayam, which serves as the railhead for mainline trains. Major trains to Mettupalayam

Major Trains to Mettupalayam:
The Nilgiri Express conncets Mettupalayam with Chennai daily. Coimbatore, the nearest city is 90 kmaway and linked to all the major cities by rail . Mettupalayam is easily accessible from Coimbatore by frequent bus or train services.

Darjeeling:
The most famous of the little trains , is the one linking thtown of New Jalpaiguri the plains to the lovely hill station of Darjeeling .
With a 2 ft gauge , the Darjeeling Hill Railway is indeed a 'toy train' being the narrowest of the regular narrow gauges. The tiny century -old engine is connoisseur's delight.
The 86 km Darjeeling line has no tunnels , thus allowing the traveller an uninterrtpted view of the breathtaking scenery of the Himlayas. The seven - and a - half hour ride up , is a journey especially for rail buffs.

Access to Darjeeling
New Jalpaiguri , the starting point of te hill train to Darjeeling, has direct connections to Kolkata, Delhi, Guwahati and other places in India.

Matheran:
The 77 year old line, connecting Neral (on maon line of Central Railway) to Matheran , is the main way to reach the tiny hill resort, close to Mumbai. As the little train wheezes up into the clear mountain air , one can view the scenic vista of hills and plains below. The lack of vehicular traffic at Matheran makes it an unusual and peaceful retreat.

Access to Matheran:
The toy train to matheran commence from Neral ( on Mumbai- Pune line) , reached from Mumbai by local train . The journey up to Matheran from Neral takes about one -and -a- half hours . The toy train runs between sunrise and sunset.

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