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Mountain Railways Of India

They were built during the British Rule in the nineteenth or early twentieth century and are functional since then. They run under the Indian Railways and Kashmir Railways were too added to it in the year 2005. Out of the seven lines, four of them are in the north Himalayan rugged regions which are Darjeeling Himalayan Railway which was started in the year 1881, Kalka–Shimla Railway started in 1898, Kashmir Railway in 2005 and the Kangra Valley Railway in the year 1924. Down in the Western Ghats, there are two other rails which are Nilgiri Mountain Railway in the south and Matheran Railways in Maharashtra. The last line is the Lumding-Silchar Line which was built in the twentieth century and is in Assam.

The important hill resort is connected with the foothills by these Himalayan railway lines which display the scenic mountainous landscape of those areas. They are one of the best developments done during the British Rule in India.


The delayed interest shown by the British to establish control over the Himalayan areas, lead to the construction of Mountain Railways of India. Sir John Lawrence, the viceroy of India in the year 1844 gave the idea to start colonization in the hills. They were simply termed as Hill Railways back then and made stations which were culturally and geographically rich. Shimla, known as the Summer Capital back then by the British India was chosen for this purpose. Other hill stations chosen were Darjeeling in West Bengal, Kangra Valley in the State of Himachal Pradesh, Ootacamund in Nilgiri Mountains of the state Tamil Nadu and Matheran Hill station near Mumbai.

In the year 1878, the first effort was made to link the hill passenger railway with the mountain terrains which had immense beauty. It was the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Line which was first started by Franklin Prestige who was in the Eastern Bengal Railways. He gave the idea of building a hill tramway in the hills from Siliguri to Darjeeling. It was the year 1881 when the construction was started and the line went up to Darjeeling.

Nilgiri Mountain Railways in the Southern part of India was the next project which was started which was proposed in the year 1854. The work in that area was finally started in 1894 but it took a long time to complete as the terrain was quite difficult. It was completed in the year 1908. Kalka-Shimla Railways were started in the year 1898 which was 96 kilometers long and was inaugurated by Lord Curzon, the viceroy in the year 1903. In the year 1907, a toy train in Matheran-Neral was started which was a hill station 208 kilometers away from Mumbai.

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway in the year 1999 got recognition as ‘World Heritage Site’ by UNESCO and was the very first in India to get it. Nilgiri Mountain Railways and Kalka Shimla Railways were soon to follow in the year 2005 and 2008 respectively. These three are together called the Mountain Railways of India and are definitely outstanding examples of genius engineering as the problem of establishing railways in the rugged mountain terrains.

Mountain Railway Includes

Toy Train in India

The mini trains running in the historic railway lines which go up to a number of hill stations in India are the toy trains. The time taken by the toy trains to reach the destination is pretty long and can take around eight hours to reach the destination. In spite of their speed being slow, the people do not really mind because the view outside is so beautiful that people are often mesmerized by it and find it worth the time.

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway

Known as the Darjeeling Himalayan Railways, the toy trains in Darjeeling have been transporting the passengers from the lower reaches in Eastern Himalayas and take them through the beautiful rolling hills and the tea plantations of Darjeeling which are worth seeing. Darjeeling was known as the summer Capital of India back in the British rule. It was in the year 1881 that the Darjeeling railways were complete. The UNESCO has listed it as one of the World Heritage Site in India which is a very prestigious thing.

The route of this train is eighty kilo meters which starts from New Jalpaiguri which is in the state of west Bengal. It goes to Darjeeling via siliguri, ghum and kurseong. There are a lot of fascinating loops and reserves through which the train passes giving the passengers a direct view to the scenic beauty. Batasia Loop is one of the most scenic one which lies between Ghum and Darjeeling. It provides the paranormal view of the city which has different hills and the Mount Kanchenjunga in its background. There are five major and over five hindered minor bridges which the train crosses.

Kalka Shimla Railway

Termed as one of the World’s Heritage of India by UNESCO, Kalka Shimla toy train time will give you a feeling that you are travelling back in time. It was built by the British at the time of their Colonial Rule so that they could have an access to the summer capital of India. The journey has one of the best scenic views in India. It goes through pine forests and mystical mountains through a narrow track giving a treat for the passengers travelling through it.

It is located in the northern part of Chandigarh which is the mountainous state of Himachal Pradesh. The train route connects both the places and has a track of ninety six kilo meters or sixty miles. The train passes through twenty railway stations, eight hundred bridges and one hundred two tunnels. The route has nine hundreds curves in the entire journey which makes the whole journey incredible. Near the railway station of Barog, there is a tunnel which is almost a kilometer long which is the largest tunnel of all. The scenic beauty from barog to shimla is worth seeing and is most beautiful. Through the speed of the train is hindered by the steep gradient in which the train has to climb, but since the scenic beauty is so fascinating that no one seems to bother that.

Matheran Hill Railway

The Matheran Hill Railway is a century old and takes its passengers through the shady greenery which is pollution free. All sort of vehicles including bicycles are banned making the air of the place fresh. The toy train operated in that area is one of the four historic trains which are being operated in India. It was first run in the year 1907 with an entrepreneur who was based in Mumbai named Abdul Husain Peerbhoy laying its foundation. It took three years to construct the rail line in the area and was finally started in 1907.

Though the route is just twenty kilometers, the way in which the train moves is zigzag and goes to the hill from Neral to Matheran. Since the slope is steep, it takes around two hours to reach the destination. The journey starts with grassy slopes and soon converts into hills covered with trees giving it a scenic beauty like nowhere else. You can find a lot of venders selling food and drinks in the train and going on and off in the entire journey. The vendors generally hop in and get down the train when it is moving which shows how slow the train moves. There are a couple of stations where the train stops which is well developed and refreshments can be bought. There is a short tunnel too which comes in the journey which has a very interesting name, One Kiss Tunnel.

Ooty Nilgiri Mountain Railway

To visit the hill settlement in Ooty, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway’s toy train has to be taken which is in South India in Tamil Nadu. It was established as the summer headquarters of the Chennai Government in the nineteenth century by the British. To scrape the scorching heat of the summer, a lot of people visit Ooty. The railway line was completed in the year 1899 which was forty five years after the plans were made.

Located in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway runs from Metupalaiyam to Udagamandalam in Ooty which goes via Coonoor which is in the Nilgiri Hills. The route is forty six kilometers long which passes 26 viaducts and sixteen tunnels and bridges. The railway is picturesque and as the terrain is rocky and the tea plantations just add up to the beauty.

Kangra Valley Railway

Covering a distance of one hundred sixty three kilometers, the Kangra valley Railway is in the Sub Himalayan Railways. It passes through Pathankot and Joginder Nagar and is very famous for the ancient Hindu shrines and the natural beauty. It was planned in May 1926 and the work was started in 1929 and was known as Kangra Toy Train and has 971 bridges and 2 tunnels in the entire route. It is one hundred forty two kilometers long and the whole journey will give you an idea of the immense beauty of the mountain range in Dhaulandhar and has beautiful mountain peaks. The ruins of Kangra fort can also be seen in the route in between Kangra and Mangwal.

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