Indian Hill Railways

Mayfair Hotel, Darjeeling - © Maria Cook
Taj Mahal - © Bob Cable
Siliguri Junction on the DHR - © Michael Whitehouse
Darjeeling Joy Train, India
Family of Indian elephants
Golden Temple at Amritsar - © Bob Cable
ZDM-3 No. 192 at Kalka Station - <span style=\"text-align: left; color: #000000; text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; word-spacing: 0px; white-space: normal; orphans: 2; float: none; background-color: transparent;\"><span style=\"text-align: left; color: #000000; text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; word-spacing: 0px; white-space: normal; orphans: 2; float: none; background-color: transparent;\">©</span></span> Ray Smith
YDM-4 6414 at Ooty - <span style=\"text-align: left; color: #000000; text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; word-spacing: 0px; white-space: normal; orphans: 2; float: none; background-color: transparent;\">©</span> Ray Smith
Kalka Shimla - © Bob Cable
Kathleeghat Steam Charter <span style=\"text-align: left; color: #000000; text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; word-spacing: 0px; white-space: normal; orphans: 2; float: none; background-color: transparent;\">- <span style=\"text-align: left; color: #000000; text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; word-spacing: 0px; white-space: normal; orphans: 2; float: none; background-color: transparent;\">©</span></span> James Waite
Nilgiri Railway - © Bob Cable
Shimla, India

Holiday Highlights

  • Private Heritage carriage on Kalka Shimla Railway
  • Private steam charter - Shimla to Shoghi
  • Taj Mahal & Red Fort
  • 2 Private steam charters on Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR)
  • Journey on the ‘Joy Train’
  • Delhi Railway Museum & DHR Museum
  • Workshop visits on Kalka Shimla & DHR
  • Amritsar, Shimla, Delhi, Darjeeling & Ooty
  • Atari-Wagah Frontier, Golden Temple, India Gate, & Mudamalai Wildlife Sanctuary
  • 21 Days From £5,150pp
BOOK NOW Tailor this tour for independent travel

Tour Dates:
Sunday 17 February to Saturday 9 March 2019 

Our successful annual tour to India which includes the three most exceptional railways that served the former British Hill Stations. Engineering excellence, fierce gradients and stunning scenery make for a memorable tour.

"The holiday met and exceeded expectations, especially the trip on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway." Mr & Mrs E. Stephens, Hampshire - Indian Hill Railways 2016

For more in-depth feedback read Dave Firth's Indian travel blog in which he chronicles his experience of our 2016 India Tour, describing the practical elements of the holiday, the interesting stops along the way and of course the railway journeys themselves.

Click here to view a video of the 2017 Indian Hill Railways tour DHR charter as filmed by a Ffestiniog Travel customer.

ITINERARY

Day 1 – Fly London to Amritsar

Evening flight from London to Amritsar via Delhi.

Day 2 – Arrive in India

Arrive in the Sikh holy city of Amritsar for a 2-night stay. Afternoon free to relax.

Day 3 – Sightseeing in Amritsar

Morning sightseeing tour of Amritsar including the stunning Golden Temple. Afternoon visit to the Atari-Wagah frontier post, a thoroughly unusual and unexpected experience.

Day 4 – Across the Punjab

Morning train across the Punjab to Ambala. We continue by road to Chandigarh and visit the Chandigarh Rock Garden, a 25 acre garden complete with 2000 statues, waterfalls and amphitheatres. 1-night stay on B&B basis. Lunch included.

Day 5 – Kalka Shimla Railway

By road to Kalka where we visit the extensive 2ft 6in gauge workshops of the Kalka Shimla Railway. Later we travel by privately chartered carriage over this astonishing line to Shimla, the former summer capital of British India. We remain here for 2-nights on full board. Lunch included.

Day 6 – Steam to Shoghi

Depart on our own special steam charter to Shoghi using one of the original KC Class engines built for the line. Enjoy wonderful scenery and many photo opportunities en route. Return to Shimla by road for an afternoon sightseeing tour to include a visit to the Viceregal Lodge, the former residence of the British Viceroy of India.

Day 7 – Kalka to Delhi

Depart on the morning train from Shimla to Kalka, continuing to Delhi on the Shatabdi Express. Evening arrival in Delhi and transfer to the Vasant Hotel for 3-nights on B&B basis. Lunch & dinner included today.

Day 8 – Delhi Railway Museum

We visit some of the many famous sights of Delhi including the India Gate, Rajpath, Qutab Minar and Humayun’s Tomb. Afternoon visit to the famous Delhi Railway Museum. Lunch included.

Day 9 – The Taj Mahal

Morning train from Delhi to Agra. Visit the sublime Taj Mahal and Red Fort before returning to Delhi by train. Lunch stop at a local restaurant included.

Day 10 – Rajdhani Express

Morning at leisure with a restaurant lunch included. Afternoon departure on board the Rajdhani Express for the overnight journey to New Jalpaiguri in West Bengal. Accommodation in 2-tier air conditioned berths with all meals included.

Day 11 – Siliguri and DHR Depot

Morning arrival at New Jalpaiguri and transfer to our hotel in Siliguri. We have lunch at the hotel (included) before an optional afternoon visit to the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway’s depot. 1-night stay on full board.

Day 12 – Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR)

Depart from Siliguri Junction on our charter train made up of two very comfortable 1st Class carriages, hauled by a B Class 0-4-0. Proceed to Tindharia where we will visit the DHR's Workshop before continuing on our charter train to Kurseong. There will be many stops and vehicles running parallel for photography. This magnificent line climbs to over 7,000ft using zig-zags and loops with fabulous views. Overnight in Kurseong on full board basis.

Day 13 – Another Day on the DHR

Second day of the charter continues from Kurseong to Darjeeling. The train winds its way straight up the main street of Kurseong and other villages before reaching the summit at Ghoom and descending into Darjeeling. A 3-night stay on full board at the wonderful Mayfair Hotel.

Days 14 & 15 – Magical Darjeeling

Two full days in Darjeeling for general sightseeing or further travel on the DHR. Optional full day excursion available to the Teesta Valley and Kalimpong. On the last day we have a farewell trip on the DHR by travelling on the ‘Joy Train’ from Darjeeling, round the Batasia Loop, to the summit at Ghoom where we visit the DHR museum.

Day 16 – Fly to Coimbatore

Return to Bagdogra by road and then fly to Coimbatore via Mumbai. Overnight in Coimbatore on B&B basis.

Day 17 – Nilgiri Railway

Early morning departure on the metre gauge Nilgiri Rack Railway, steam hauled from Mettupalayam to Coonoor. The train will be hauled (or rather pushed) by one of the huge SLM built rack tanks up the astonishing escarpment into the Blue Mountains. Coonoor to Ooty will be diesel hauled. A 3-night stay on full board.

Day 18 – Mudamalai Wildlife Sanctuary

Visit the Mudamalai Wildlife Sanctuary home to several endangered species including Indian Elephants, Bengal Tigers, Gaur and the Indian Leopard.  

Day 19 – The Cool Blue Mountains

A whole day’s sightseeing, including the Doddabetta Peak, the Botanical Gardens, a tea garden and Coonoor station and shed. Return to the hotel for a farewell BBQ.

Day 20 – Journey Home

Most of the day at leisure before returning by road to Coimbatore then flight to Mumbai.

Day 21 – Fly to London

Early morning flight to London arriving same day.

Tour Route

Tour route map

Selected Hotels

Holiday Inn, Amritsar

Taj Hotel, Chandigarh

Oberoi Clarke Hotel, Shimla

Vasant Hotel, Delhi

Sinclairs Hotel, Siliguri

Allita Hotel & Resorts, Kurseong

Mayfair Hotel, Darjeeling

The Residency Hotel, Coimbatore

Gem Park Hotel, Ooty

Please note - hotels can be subject to change

Price Includes

  • Flights in Economy Class by scheduled airlines
  • Accommodation in good quality hotels on a bed and breakfast basis
  • 16 lunches and 12 dinners
  • All rail journeys as stated
  • All transfers as stated
  • All excursions and admission charges as listed
  • Services of a tour leader from London and throughout the tour

Price per person

Escorted holiday: £5,150
Single room supplement: £1,235
Deposit for this holiday: £200
   

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