AITO: The Association of Independent Tour Operators
Indian Hill Railways

Indian Hill Railways

Indian Hill Railways Overview

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.


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

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 Dodabetta 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.

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
Find out more about this holiday