Unlike India, you won’t find many countries which have a separate state budget for railways; neither are trains an intrinsic part of the cultural identity of most countries. It’s hardly surprising that rail journey in India has become a prominent highlight of tourism. There are a number of fascinating and scenic travel routes in India that would make your railway journey memorable. Have a look at some of our picks.
The Toy Train (Ghum-Darjeeling)
Initially, the small steam train at Darjeeling in West Bengal was built as a tramway in an effort to somewhat balance the price of potatoes in Darjeeling and Siliguri. Today, apart from being a famous tourist attraction, the hill railway has also been accorded UNESCO world heritage status. Travelling at an average speed of 12 kilometres per hour, this famous train passes through lush green tea plantations and across dense forests. On a clear day, you will also be able to see the majestic snow-capped Kanchenjunga.
Goa Express (Vasco da Gama-Londa)
After a hectic week of sightseeing, partying and sunbathing on the beaches of Goa, if you want a calm and scenic journey, take the Goa Express from Vasco da Gama station to Londa in the neighbouring state of Karnataka. The train runs past the golden beaches, rustic villages, and lush green trees of Goa to gradually enter the Western Ghats. The scenery changes to silhouetted mountainsides, tunnels, rivers and waterfalls. The cost of tickets is minimal and the journey takes approximately 7 hours.
The Snow Sojourn (Qazigund-Srinagar-Baramulla)
Extension work is being carried out in this route on the section between Jammu and Qazigund. After completion, it will be a part of the greater Kashmir Railways which will connect Baramulla to Jammu. The journey is going to be a one of a kind experience, wherein you will see the snow capped mountains and chinar trees from your window. The best time to take this train ride is during winters when the valley is covered with snow.