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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?

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.

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.

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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