Chug Ahead With Darjeeling Toy Train As Ghum Winter Festival Gets Underway

Organised to promote Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, the festivities will be held at stations across the route from Ghum to Darjeeling
The Darjeeling Toy Train. Credit http//
The Darjeeling Toy Train. Credit http//

A sleepy town on the outskirts of Darjeeling, Ghum is known for its quietude as the toy train chugs by. And till December 5, this station, the highest in India, will play host to the Ghum Winter Festival by the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR). Organised to advertise the railway service while putting the spotlight on the local culture, the three-week-long annual festival, introduced last year, will see a celebration of food, culture and traditions. 

To mark the festivities, Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) has also introduced an evening joyride service of the heritage toy train, called the Darjeeling Toy Train, even on weekends till December 4. The ticket fares for the toy trains post-sundown are Rs 1000 for First Class diesel engines and Rs 1500 for the steam engines. There are currently 12 train rides on the Darjeeling-Ghum-Darjeeling route, which takes about two hours. 

Additionally expect stand-up comedy, folk art, a talent hunt, exhibitions and food stalls at the celebration. Visitors can also opt for heritage walks and mountain biking experiences at the festival. You can also visit the museum at the Ghum station which highlights the journey of DHR. 

History of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway

The story of the Darjeeling toy train dates back to the colonial era. Built between 1879 and 1881, the train&rsquos maiden trip was in the year 1880. The toy train climbs about 100 m above sea level at New Jalpaiguri to about 2,200 m at Darjeeling and covers a distance of 88km on a zig-zag track.

Offering a glimpse into the bygone era, the train, a symbol of nostalgia, is said to be running on 100-year-old diesel engines. It comprises age-old compartments along with a narrow gauge having an aperture of two feet between them. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway was also declared a &lsquoWorld Heritage Site&rsquo by UNESCO in the year 1999.

How to book tickets IRCTC website

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