UNESCO World Heritage Kalka-Shimla toy train
Taking a trip on the historic UNESCO World Heritage Kalka-Shimla toy train is like traveling back in time.
The railway, built by the British in 1903 to provide access to their summer capital of Shimla, provides one of the most scenic train journeys in India. It enlivens passengers as it gradually winds its way steeply upwards along the narrow track, through rugged mountains and pine forests.
The Kalka–Shimla railway is a 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) narrow-gauge railway in North India which traverses a mostly-mountainous route from Kalka to Shimla. It is known for dramatic views of the hills and surrounding villages. The railway was built under the direction of Herbert Septimus Harington between 1898 and 1903 to connect Shimla, the summer capital of India during the British Raj, with the rest of the Indian rail system.
Its early locomotives were manufactured by Sharp, Stewart and Company. Larger locomotives were introduced, which were manufactured by the Hunslet Engine Company. Diesel and diesel-hydraulic locomotives began operation in 1955 and 1970, respectively.
The track has 20 picturesque stations, 103 tunnels, 912 curves, 969 bridges and 3% slope (1:33 gradient). The 1,143.61 m Bagot tunnel at Barog immediately before the Barog station is longest, a 60 ft (18.29m) bridge is the longest and the sharpest curve has a 123 ft (38 m) radius of curvature. The train has an average speed of 25–30 km/hr but the railcar is almost 50–60 km/hr. Both the train and railcar are equipped with vistadomes. The temperature range and annual rainfall are 0–45 C and 200–250 cm respectively.
One hundred seven tunnels were originally built, but as a result of landslides only 102 remain in use.[
The construction of tunnel 33 was entrusted to Colonel S. Barog.He decided to dig it from both ends but got his calculations wrong and the ends failed to meet each other in the middle. He was fined a symbolic Rs 1 for wasting government money. Unable to bear the humiliation the already distraught Barog committed suicide near the tunnel. Some reports say he shot his dog before he shot himself. He is buried near the entrance to his failed tunnel.A new tunnel 33 was constructed by the line’s Chief Engineer H. S. Harington with the help of local ascetic Bhalku, who came from the village of Jhajja near Chail. Bhalku used a long and solid wooden staff to hit the ground and divine the correct alignment.At 1,143 metre long it is the longest tunnel on the railway line. It is called the Barog tunnel even though it is completely different from the failed tunnel of Colonel Barog. The small town of Barog owes its name to the late Colonel
Train Passes through following stations
- Kalka (0 km, 656 m above MSL). It derived its name from Kali Mata temple located at the Shimla end of the town. It is home to a diesel shed as well as a workshop to service the narrow gauge engines and carriages of the Kalka-Shimla line.[
- Taksal (5.69 km, 806 m above MSL).[
- Gumman (10.41 km, 940 m above MSL). An isolated station, situated in Kasauli hills.
- Koti (16.23 km, 1,098 m above MSL). The station is often visited by wild animals. The second longest tunnel (No. 10) with a length of 693.72m is situated near this station.In August, 2007 a heavy downpour washed away part of the station building and track.
- Sonwara (26 km, 1,334 m above MSL). This services the nearby residential Sanawar School. The longest bridge (No.226) on the line with an overall length of 97.40 m and height of 19.31 m is situated near this station.
- Dharampur (32.14 km, 1,469 m above MSL):- This services the Kasauli hill station which is 13 km away. The Engineer’s Bungalow (33 km) which was the official residence of the engineer in charge of this section of the line until the late 1960s was converted into the Northern Railway Safety Institute.
- Kumarhati Dagshai (39 km, 1,579 m above MSL):- This isolated station serviced the Dagshai military cantonment.
- Barog (42.14 km, 1,531 m above MSL), The station is named after Colonel S Barog, who was the in charge of construction of the first unsuccessful tunnel built on the line. The longest tunnel (No.33) with a length of 1,143.61m is situated close to the Kalka side of the station.
- Solan (46.10 km, 1,429 m above MSL). The National Institute of Research on Mushroom Farming and Solan Agriculture University is situated nearby.
- Salogra (52.70 km, 1,509 m above MSL).
- Kandaghat (58.24 km, 1,433 m above MSL). Arch bridge No. 493 with a length of 32m is situated here.
- Kanoh (69.42 km, 1,647 m above MSL). The highest arch gallery bridge (No.541) with a height of 23m and length 54.8m is situated here.
- Kathleeghat (72.23 km, 1,701 m above MSL).
- Shoghi (77.81 km, 1,832 m above MSL).
- Taradevi (84.64 km, 1,936 m above MSL). The name derives from Mata Tara Devi. The Sankat Mochan and Tara Devi temples are situated near this station. The third longest tunnel (No.91) at 992 m is situated on the Shimla end of this station.
- Jutogh (89.41 km, 1,958 m above MSL). This suburb station of Shimla, once served as the transit point for Jutogh Military Cantonment..
- Summer Hill (92.93 km, 2,042 m above MSL). This suburb station of Shimla originally serviced the Viceregal Lodge. The Himachal Pradesh University is situated near the station.
- Shimla (95.60 km, 2,075 m above MSLhttp://travelfreaks.info/shimla/
On 8 July 2008, UNESCO added the Kalka–Shimla railway to the mountain railways of India World Heritage Site.
- Shivalik Deluxe Express: Ten coaches, with chair cars and meal service .A premium express train with carpet, wide glass windows, cushioned seats, relaxing music, and upgraded toilets. It fits 120 passengers. Food is provided, and the train only has one stop at Barog.Kalka Shimla Express: First and second class and unreserved seating
- Himalayan Queen: a standard train, with first and second class carriages. Food isn’t provided but can be purchased at the nine stations it stops at along the way. Some of the stops are for 5-10 minutes, so this train is the most suitable for those who like to get out and explore. You’ll be able to take plenty of photos. At Kalka with the express mail of the same name and the Kalka Shatabdi Express to Delhi.
- Kalka Shimla Passenger: First and second class and unreserved seating
- Rail Motor: First-class railbus with a glass roof and a front view , niquely resembles a bus from the time of the Second World War. It’s got a transparent roof, and fits only 14 passengers. It’s also an express service, with food provided. There is one stop, at Barog. It can be difficult to get tickets though.Shivalik Queen: Ten-carriage luxury fleet. Each carriage accommodates up to eight people and has two toilets, wall-to-wall carpeting and large windows. Available through IRCTC’s Chandigarh office.
The best views are on the right side of the train when going to Shimla, and the left side when returning.
If you find it necessary to stay overnight at Kalka, there are very few accommodations to choose from. A better option is to head to Parwanoo, a few kilometers away. Himachal Pradesh Tourism has an unremarkable hotel there (The Shivalik hotel). Alternatively, it you want to splurge, Moksha Spa is one of the top Himalayan spa resorts in India.
A rare site with morning sunrise and sun set with a spectacular view of complete shimla.
SUKHSAGAR REGENCY A Luxury Resort, located at the foot Hills of Himalaya in Taradevi, Shimla.Actually this site was actually explored by britshers in 1944 for a luxury hotel. A rare site with morning sunrise and sun set with a spectacular view of complete shimla.
If you are going to Shimla ,check out the embassy restaurant with it’s beautiful furnishing , window views over the hills and the special taste of variety of foods, cakes and shakes. That taste will bring you back again in Embassy ,Shimla.