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The Darjeeling Himalayan Raillway, known locally as the Toy Train, was built by the British between 1879 and 1881.

It connects Darjeeling, 7000ft up in the Himalayan foothills, with New Jalpaiguri 50 miles away on the plains of West Bengal.

It was constructed to 2ft gauge, with numerous loops and reverses to cater for the considerable gradients.

​From virtually its inception the line’s motive power has been the 0-4-0 Class B steam engines built by Sharpe, Stewart and Co. and the North British Locomotive Co. between 1889 and 1925.

Diesel locomotives now operate the daily service over the length of the line, with steam restricted to the top part of the railway and charter trains.

The DHR is owned and managed by the government-run Indian Railways.

The DHR has contributed much to the development of Darjeeling and the surrounding area, and is still an important factor in the life of the people who live by the line.

In 1999 UNESCO declared the Railway to be a World Heritage Site, in recognition of its cultural significance, both nationally and internationally.


Today the DHR continues to attract many tourists from India and further afield, notwithstanding problems relating to the area’s geography, climate and politics.

Visitors are always struck by the affection shown by the local people towards their railway, and by their determination that it should continue to serve their community, and thereby enchant residents and visitors alike.


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