UNESCO-listed mountain Railways of India
The scenic and breathtaking mountain railways of India not only connect rural India and modern India but also offer explorers an unmatched travel experience in craggy mountainous terrain. From the Kangra Valley Railway in the north to the steam-driven Nilgiri Mountain Railway in the south, all these trains run on the historic mountain railway lines that were built during the British Raj in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Three of the mountain railways: the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, Kalka-Shimla Railway, and Nilgiri Mountain Railway have been given the status of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Matheran Light Railway and Kangra Valley Railway are the other mountain tracks that take you through meandering railway tracks, rugged mountains, and gorgeous terrace farms.
Here’s what you need to know before you hop on of these trains.
Darjeeling is a land of expansive meadows, tea gardens, glorious Kanchenjunga, lush rolling hills, and the beautiful Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. The small-gauge railway, which is often called the “toy train” for its little size was started in 1881 and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999. It travels a distance of 78 kilometers between Darjeeling and New Jalpaiguri. The train goes through serpentine tracks, switchbacks, hairpin turns, tunnels, and bridges, making it a journey to remember.
Track length: 88 km
The route covered: New Jalpaiguri, Siliguri Town, Siliguri Junction, Sukna, Rangtong, Tindharia, Gayabari, Mahanadi, Kurseong, Tung, Sonada, Ghum, and Darjeeling.
The Nilgiri Mountain Railway is a 46-km-long railway track in the mountainous terrain of the state of Tamil Nadu and uses an ingenious ‘ABT’ rack system to climb the steep ascents. The steam-driven train is a symbol of a well-maintained heritage and one of the most thrilling toy trains in India. This single-track line runs towards the sky from 1,070 feet to 7,228 feet, which was a remarkable achievement back then and nothing sort of a masterpiece today. Built in 1908 and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005, the train takes you through rocky terrain, gorgeous ravines, lush tea estates, and thick forests, and ends in the spectacular Ooty.
Track length: 46 km
The route covered: Mettupalayam, Kellar, Coonoor, Wellington, Lovedale, Ootacamund
Kalka-Shimla Railway is not just an economical way to reach Shimla, but also a breathtaking journey one can take through the Himalayan mountains. The 96.54 km narrow gauge connects the plains to the summer capital of the British Raj. Opened in 1903, UNESCO added the Kalka-Shimla toy train as an extension to the World Heritage Site of Mountain railways of India. This beautiful little train passes through 103 tunnels and about 800 bridges and viaducts. This probably is one of the best train journeys you’ll ever take in your life.Track length: 96.54 km
The route covered: Shimla, Summer Hill, Shoghi, Salogra, Solan Brewery, Barog, Kumarhatti Dagshai, Dharmpur, and Kalka Junction.
The Himalayan Railway Adventure takes you on a grand 13-day fully escorted rail journey to one of the world’s oldest and most fascinating cultures on a collection of UNESCO World Heritage-listed railways that forge their way into the spectacular landscapes of the Himalayan Mountains. On this tour, you will see some of the grand relics of its fascinating rail history and visit some of the most amazing destinations in India, along with World Heritage sites that will take your breath away.
2 – 16 February 2024
• KOLKATA • SILIGURI • KURSEONG • DARJEELING • BAGDOGRA • CHANDIGARH • SHIMLA • DELHI •
Are you ready to experience some of the most beautiful journeys on earth?
Scott McGregor’s Railway Adventures tour is more than just a holiday, it is a unique way to experience the world. By train you are completely immersed in culture and adventure, exploring the most scenic corners of the world in the comfort of a luxury train. Whether you are an experienced traveller or just beginning to explore this wonderful world, Railway Adventures has something for everyone. Transform your holiday into the most unforgettable adventure of a lifetime with Railway Adventures.