Toy train ride from Kalka to Shimla: Don’t even think about it!

Beware of every blog that talks highly about the toy train ride from Kalka to Shimla; none of the authors have actually been through the journey themselves. The one who has traveled in the Shimla-Kalka toy train understands the pain of aching muscles, hurting joints & stiff neck. After 6 long hours when the torture ends, you come out of the train a little shorter & a lot crazier. 

Toy train ride is only meant for kids below 10 years of age. With seats meant for dwarves, one can hardly adjust their bu** cheeks on the cushion. The space is enough only for one person which is why the second one sits half on the seat & half in the air. 

This wasn’t enough which is why the Railways decided to play a game. They declared all compartments, general. So, anyone who has a ticket can board the bogie & stand above your head while you sit half on seat & half in the air. The only thing that salvages this journey is – the few moments of scenic routes during the journey.


The fight for the window seat:

The railways want to have all their fun at the expense of toy train passengers which is why they have screwed up the seat numbering in the toy train. The window seat numbers indicate aisle seats while the aisle seats are numbered by the window. You can imagine the amount of fights that happen because of this.

Oh, did I use the word ‘aisle’?! Sorry, there is nothing like an aisle in a toy train. Since they can’t expect the passengers to hop above one another, they left a space of hardly 1 foot between two seats. One can’t even stand there. 

As far as the luggage goes, you may very well keep it on your head since there is no space available to keep it. Or better, seat the luggage on the joke they call seats. And you sit over your luggage. That way, there will be at least one body part of yours that won’t pain at the end of the journey. 


102 tunnels & sharp turns are lamer than a lame joke:

Most of the blogs and articles out there will lure you by talking about the long tunnels that are between Kalka & Shimla. Please, please – don’t fall for them. The tunnels are even lamer than the toy train. Imagine three people standing above your head, one constantly pushing you sideways to claim a bigger portion of the seat & your luggage hanging in the air – a dark, stupid tunnel adds insult to the injury & nothing else.

All the stories that they have cooked about the haunted tunnels might or might not be true. But at that moment, every single soul in the train would better see a ghost than another living person in the train. 



The toy train ride is the biggest punishment one can give to self or to others.  Six, long hours in a compartment overflowing with humans & reeking of spicy curry – makes you fall sick. All you want at that moment is some fresh air & some space to put your feet up.

The better alternative to travelling from Kalka to Shimla is by road. Hire a taxi & reach Shimla in INR 1500 bucks. You can enjoy the scenery, enjoy your space, stretch your legs & stuff your luggage at the back of your cab.

Happy journey!



7 Comments Add yours

  1. themissmcg says:

    It looks like you had an awful experience of the train. And I’m sure I would have agreed with you had the carriage been packed like yours. Our train was pretty empty though and me and my friend actually had eight seats to ourselves. So personally I wouldn’t let this experience put others off. Maybe find out when peak trains are and avoid them but on a quieter days, it was a really beautiful experience.


    1. Just Yamini says:

      Good to know that. That’s the beauty of travel. Places changes colors with seasons. And any place, if doesn’t have many people, starts appearing like a tourist destination. 🙂


  2. Always a Foreigner says:

    Hmm, interesting experience and one I will take into account while deciding to take a toy train trip. They do look intriguing, but your experience might lead me to believe that a shorter trip would be much better!


    1. Just Yamini says:

      Hahaha. Yeah, yeah. Ditch the toy train. Book a cab. 😀


  3. Just Yamini says:

    But something tells me that you enjoyed your train ride from Kalka to Shimla. Good for you!


  4. Sunil says:

    May be the journey is little painful because the train is not that luxury but the scenic root, hundreds of tunnels, the views are amazing and unforgettable specially in the monsoon when the entire valley is full of greenery, mist and flora.


    1. Just Yamini says:

      Well, it was not all that scenic. I went around monsoons, but no view was delightful for me. In fact, with every passing tunnel & town, I was more reminded of the green tea estates of Munnar, the coffee plantation of Coorg, the forests of Kodaikanal & the stepped farms of Palampur.


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