Ooty – Coonoor toy trains beckon tourists: Here's how to book tickets

Trains would be operated between Coonoor and Ooty on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays. Photo: iStock/NiaK Stock

If you want to enjoy your vacation 'Chayya Chayya' style, it's time to plan your Ooty vacation for this summer. A special toy train will operate between Ooty and Coonoor this summer, from March 29 to July 1. You might not get to climb atop the train like in the SRK song, but you will be able to enjoy the scintillating sights the route offers for sure. The Salem division of the Southern Railway approved the special mountain toy train projects in the Mettupalayam – Ooty – Coonoor – Ooty route in the Nilgiri district in Tamil Nadu just recently. Trains would be operated between Coonoor and Ooty on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays.

April and May are the busiest here as tourists from all over the world throng the Nilgiris, a prominent international tourism destination. UNESCO has honoured the Nilgiri Mountain Railway as a world heritage site. The journey through 206 bridges and 16 tunnels is truly mesmerizing. Meanwhile, the Salem division has announced special train services for the tourists in the Mettupalayam – Ooty route on Fridays and Sundays and Ootty – Mettupalayam special mountain trains on Saturdays and Sundays.

How to book tickets
You can book the Ooty toy train online through the Indian Railways website, or purchase tickets from the station ticket counters by reaching an hour early. The station code for Coonoor is ONR and Ooty is UAM. Check out this page for more details. 

Notable toy trains of India
There are around six prominent toy train services in various mountainous regions of the country, where it is the feasible option due to the steep nature of the terrain. The Kalka – Shimla toy train is a prominent mountain train in India. There are twenty stations in this 96-km-long route. Besides, there are eight hundred bridges, nine hundred turns and 103 tunnels on the route, making the journey an exciting one. It takes around five hours to reach Shimla from Kalka. Lots of spooky stories are said about the long tunnels in this route. For instance, the 103rd tunnel is believed to be haunted by a ghost. Interestingly, this is also the longest railway tunnel in India. The five-hour-long journey offers beautiful sceneries and a thrilling experience for the tourists.

The Neral–Matheran toy train service, which began in 1907 in Maharashtra, is another mountain train that lures tourists with its historic significance and beautiful nature on the route. Tourists can take a ride in the toy train while enjoying the clean air as vehicles are banned on this route. The service is through the beautiful valleys in the Western Ghats that are known for their impeccable greenery. The two- and half-hour long journey that begins at Neral runs on zig-zag tracks, at some places, making the trip exciting. Meanwhile, the Kangra Valley Railway is the longest and the last mountain railway that was launched in India. The service that begins at Pathankot in Punjab extends up to Joginder Nagar in Himachal Pradesh. This railway project was completed in 1929, making it the last mountain railway project to be built during the British Raj.

The Darjeeling toy train began operating from 1881 onwards. Interestingly, it is one of the oldest train routes in India. The toy train travels through picturesque valleys and hills, offering amazing scenery. The route is more than 80 kilometres long and has 505 bridges on the way. 

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