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“Fantastic experience, both on the train from Kurseong to Darjeeling and the steam train Joy Ride.”

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
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6-Day Private Tour to Gangtok and Darjeeling from Kolkata Including Train Ride...
Ranked #11 of 99 things to do in Darjeeling
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: A spectacular narrow gauge steam railway is still operational.
Reviewed April 7, 2013 via mobile

I'll confess early in my review that I like travelling on railways and that one of the top destinations on my travel list was the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. I was not disappointed. So without (too much) bias, here goes!

When we visited in November 2012 the line was only open between Kurseong and Darjeeling due to landslides further down towards New Jalpaiguri, however I knew this in advance and you'll be able to check the current status online.

We arrived in Kurseong by shared jeep from Siliguri (also a good experience along the hairpin bends and looking down to see the valley dropping away below us) just at the right time to watch a whole load of taxi drivers who had parked on the tracks have a mad scurry to clear the line for the train, quite a sight.

We had stayed at the nearby Makaibari Tea Estate near Kurseong for a few days and got the first train of the day from Kurseong to Darjeeling. We booked our tickets on the day and the station master was very friendly. We pulled out right on time through the crowds of people and traffic which is forced to give way the the train. The junction and main street at Kurseong may well be the best place to watch the train without being on it. Climbing up Kurseong main street we passed by shops and street vendors which at times were no more than a couple of feet from the train. At one point we passed a fruit seller whose stand edged right up to the actual rails so his produce was beneath us as we went by, quite an experience. The scenery from the train is as beautiful and captivating as you would expect, be it watching the shops and people in the towns it passes through, to the zig sagging interaction of the railway and the road (and the vehicles on it!), to the magnificent views down / up / across the valley.

We were in the Mark Twain coach and the seats were very comfortable indeed. If you can get a seat on the left hand side of the train as it heads uphill (this will be the station building side if you get on at Kurseong because the train reverses just outside the station) then you'll be rewarded with the best overall experience I think.

There is only a diesel train which runs from Kurseong to Darjeeling now, but you can book on a "Joy Ride" return tour to be hauled by steam locomotive from Darjeeling to Ghoom. Thankfully I had booked a ticket in advance on the irctc.co.in website for the Joy Ride because the limited number of seats for each train were sold out for the days we were in Darjeeling. This was a fantastic experience, puffing and tooting our way along. The train stops to take on water on the way to Ghoom which gives you a chance to get out and take photos. It also pauses for a short while at the Gurkha Memorial before heading to Ghoom. At Ghoom station there is a good wee museum covering some of the history of the railway and it's well worth a look around (entrance free if you arrive on the Joy Ride). The steam train switches ends here and then heads back to Darjeeling. An excellent way to spend a couple of hours.

1  Thank Aldolara
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed April 6, 2013

Trip to Darjeeling is incomplete without the joy-ride in "Himalayan Queen" form Darjeeling to Ghum and back to the city, especially if you are interested in train journey with a steam engine. In March 2013 one First Class ticket costs INR 310.00 for this round trip joyride of around 2 hrs and 10 minutes (10 minutes halt at Batasia loop on its journey to Ghum and 30 minutes halt at Ghum before the return journey starts). Definitely a seat on the right hand side on its way from Darjeeling to Ghum is desired as this helps you to take photographs of the Himalaya and the valleys on its route. Quite a few tourists escape the return trip to Darjeeling from Ghum though the ticket costs the same as round trip.

1  Thank Mukherjee_Anupam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 4, 2013

This really is a great example of an Indian toy train, but sadly the earlier landslide has shortened the line dramatically. It's still very atmospheric and worth a visit but don't expect a long trip. At the moment the steam locomotives are not very reliable so most trains are diesel hauled but there's always a steamer working around the station.

1  Thank Cuthbert-R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 3, 2013

the train now runs from darjeeling to kurseong. except historical value ,it is nothing great. the only exception is the journey through batasi loop. a good garden also have been created around this area

1  Thank deepak501
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 18, 2013

Darjeeling railway is the best railway I have ever seen as far as scenic beauty and joy is concerned. The ride from Darjeeling to Ghoom is just fabulous. I have reviewed the railway here too: http://www.tripadvisor.in/Attraction_Review-g304557-d3171246-Reviews-Darjeeling_Toy_Train-Darjeeling_West_Bengal.html

5  Thank Abhijit G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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