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Saturday, December 5, 2020





Kalka-Shimla Railway, Himachal Pradesh
This UNESCO  World Heritage Site toy train of India connects Shimla with the Indian rail system. Passes through 20 scenic stations, 912 curves, 103 tunnels, and, 969 bridges.

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, West Bengal
Opened in 1879, this UNESCO World Heritage Site toy train of India is one of the oldest in India. Running between Darjeeling and New Jalpaiguri, it panoramic panoramic views of  Darjeeling’s lush green tea plantations and rolling hills. It has a total of 14 stations.

Nilgiri Mountain Railway, Tamil Nadu
This UNESCO World Heritage Site toy train of India is the country’s only rack railways. 46 km in length, it goes through a total of 13 stations. One of its stations was also filmed for the movie ‘A Passage to India’. The railway was also a part of the documentary on Indian Hill Railways made by BBC in 2010.

Matheran Hill Railway, Maharashtra
It is on the tentative list UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The 21 km ride takes the passengers through peaceful pollution-free greenery connecting Matheran to Neral.

Kangra Valley Railway, Himachal Pradesh
Connecting Pathankot in Punjab to Jogindernagar in Himachal Pradesh, Kangra Valley Railway runs for 164 km. It is on UNESCO’s tentative list of World Heritage Sites.

Brief History Of The Kalka–Shimla Railway

Brief History Of The Kalka–Shimla Railway

Shimla which was settled by the British shortly after the first Anglo-Gurkha war, is located at 7,116 feet (2,169 m) in the Himalayas. The idea of connecting Shimla by rail was first notified to the Delhi gazette in November 1847. Shimla became the summer capital of British India in 1864, and was the headquarters of the Indian army. Twice a year it was necessary to transfer the entire government between Calcutta and Shimla by horse and ox drawn carts.

In 1891 the 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) broad-gauge Delhi–Kalka line opened, which made the construction of a branch line up to Shimla feasible. Construction of the Kalka–Shimla railway on 2 ft (610 mm) narrow-gauge tracks was begun by the privately funded Delhi-Ambala-Kalka Railway Company following the signing of a contract between the secretary of state and the company on 29 June 1898. The contract specified that the line would be built without any financial aid or guarantee from the government. The government however provided the land free of charge to the company. The estimated cost of 8,678,500 rupees doubled by the time the line was opened. The Chief Engineer of the project was Herbert Septimus Harington.

The 95.68 km (59.45 mi) line opened for traffic on 9 November 1903 and was dedicated by Viceroy Lord Curzon. This line was further extended from Shimla to Shimla Goods (which had once housed the bullock cart office) on 27 June 1909 making it 96.60 km (60.02 mi). 

In 2007, the Himachal Pradesh government declared the railway a heritage property. For about a week, beginning on 11 September 2007, a UNESCO team visited the railway to inspect it for possible selection as a World Heritage Site. On 8 July 2008, it became part of the mountain railways of India World Heritage Site with the Darjeeling Himalayan and Nilgiri Mountain Railways.

The track has 20 picturesque stations, 103 tunnels, 912 curves, 969 bridges and 3% slope (1:33 gradient). The 1,143.61 m 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 railway line originally used 42 lb/yd (20.8 kg/m) rail, which was later replaced with 60 lb/yd (29.8 kg/m) rail. 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 route winds from a height of 656 metres (2,152 ft) at Kalka in the Himalayan Shivalik Hills foothills, past Dharampur, Solan, Kandaghat, Taradevi, Barog, Salogra, Totu (Jutogh) and Summerhill, to Shimla at an altitude of 2,075 metres (6,808 ft). The difference in height between the two ends of line is 1,419 metres (4,656 ft).


Kalka - 0 km derived its name from Kali Mata temple located at the Shimla end of the town.

Taksal - 5.69 km (3.54 mi) 806 m (2,644 ft). Got the name because it was the place where coins were made in ancient time.

Gumman - 10.41 km (6.47 mi) 940 m (3,080 ft). An isolated station, situated in Kasauli hills.

Koti  - 16.23 km (10.08 mi) 1,098 m (3,602 ft). Frequently visited by wild animals has the second longest tunnel (No. 10) with a length of 693.72 metres.

Jabli - 20 km. (12.42 mi) 1,098 m (3,602 ft). Close to the highway and visited frequently by tourists visiting the resorts and hotels located in Jabli.

Sonwara - 26 km (16 mi) 1,334 m (4,377 ft) This services the nearby residential Sanawar School. The longest bridge (No.226) on the line with an overall length of 97.40 metres (319 ft 7 in) and height of 19.31 metres (63 ft 4 in) is here.

Dharampur - 32.14 km (19.97 mi) 1,469 m (4,820 ft) This services the Kasauli hill station which is 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) away.

Kumarhati Dagshai - 39 km (24 mi) 1,579 m (5,180 ft) This isolated station serviced the Dagshai military cantonment.

Barog - 42.14 km (26.18 mi) 1,531 m (5,023 ft) The longest tunnel (No.33) with a length of 1,143.61 metres (3,752 ft 0 in) is situated close to the Kalka side of the station.

Solan - 46.10 km (28.65 mi) 1,429 m (4,688 ft).

Salogra - 52.70 km (32.75 mi) 1,509 m (4,951 ft) The famous Solan Brewery is just a few kilometres away from Salogra station.

Kandaghat - 58.24 km (36.19 mi) 1,433 m (4,701 ft) Arch bridge No. 493 with a length of 32 metres (105 ft) is situated here.

Kanoh - 69.42 km (43.14 mi) 1,647 m (5,404 ft) The highest arch gallery bridge (No.541) with a height of 23 metres (75 ft 6 in) and length of 54.8 metres (179 ft 9 in) is situated here.

Kathleeghat - 72.23 km (44.88 mi) 1,701 m (5,581 ft) It is the last station of Shimla district.

Shoghi - 77.81 km (48.35 mi) 1,832 m (6,010 ft) Shoghi is the first station of Shimla district.

Taradevi - 84.64 km (52.59 mi) 1,936 m (6,352 ft) 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 metres (3,255 ft) is situated on the Shimla end of this station.

Jutogh - 89.41 km (55.56 mi) 1,958 m (6,424 ft) This suburb station of Shimla, once served as the transit point for Jutogh Military Cantonment.

Summer Hill - 92.93 km (57.74 mi) 2,042 m (6,699 ft) This suburb station of Shimla originally serviced the Viceregal Lodge.

Shimla - 95.60 km (59.40 mi) 2,075 m (6,808 ft) This beautiful station is just below the old bus stand in Shimla.

Bridges and viaducts

The railway has 988 bridges and viaducts and a ruling gradient of 1 in 33, or three percent. It has 917 curves, and the sharpest is 48 degrees (a radius of 122.93 feet or 37.47 m).

The most architecturally complex bridge is No. 226 which spans a deep valley which required that it had to be constructed in five stages with each level having its own stone arched tier.

Rolling stock

The first locomotives were two class-B 0-4-0STs from the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. These were built as 2 ft (610 mm)-gauge engines, but were converted to 2 ft 6 in (762 mm)-gauge in 1901. They were not large enough (they were sold in 1908), and were followed in 1902 by 10 slightly-larger engines with a 0-4-2T wheel arrangement. The locomotives weighed 21.5 long tons (21.8 t; 24.1 short tons) each, and had 30 in (762 mm) driving wheels and 12 in × 16 in (304.8 mm × 406.4 mm) cylinders. Later classified as B-class by the North Western State Railway, they were manufactured by the British Sharp, Stewart and Company.

Thirty larger 2-6-2T locomotives, with slight variations, were introduced between 1904 and 1910. Built by the Hunslet Engine and North British Locomotive Companies, they weighed about 35 long tons (36 t; 39 short tons) and had 30 in (762 mm) drivers and 14 in × 16 in (355.6 mm × 406.4 mm) cylinders. Later classed K and K2 by the North Western State Railway, they handled most of the rail traffic during the steam era. A pair of Kitson-Meyer 2-6-2+2-6-2 articulated locomotives, classed TD, were supplied in 1928.

The railway's first diesel locomotives, class ZDM-1 manufactured by Arnold Jung Lokomotivfabrik (articulated with two prime movers), began operating in 1955; they were regauged, reclassified as NDM-1 and used on the Matheran Hill Railway during the 1970s. In the 1960s, class ZDM-2 locomotives from Maschinenbau Kiel (MaK) was introduced; they were later transferred to other lines.

The KSR currently operates with class ZDM-3 diesel-hydraulic locomotives (522 kW or 700 hp, 50 km/h or 31 mph), built between 1970 and 1982 by Chittaranjan Locomotive Works with a single-cab road-switcher body. Six locomotives of that class were built in 2008 and 2009 by the Central Railway Loco Workshop in Parel, with updated components and a dual-cab body providing better track vision.

The railway opened with conventional four-wheel and bogie coaches. Their tare weight meant that only four bogie coaches could be hauled by the 2-6-2T locomotives. In a 1908 effort to increase capacity, the coach stock was rebuilt as 33-by-7-foot (10.1 by 2.1 m) bogie coaches with steel frames and bodies. To further save weight, the roofs were made of aluminium. The weight savings meant that the locomotives could now haul six of the larger coaches. This was an early example of the use of aluminium in coach construction to reduce tare weight.

During the winter months snow cutters are attached to the engine to clear the snow from the track.