The Kalka-Shimla Railway is a narrow gauge railway that measures 2’6” or 762mm in length. The train travels mainly on the mountainous terrains thereby offering breadth taking sceneries to its passengers. The biggest incline that is faced here is measures 96 km.
The train was meant to connect Shimla, which is the capital city of Himachal Pradesh and Kalka, which is a town in Panchkula district in Haryana. The railway was constructed by the Delhi – Umbala – Kalka Railway Company in the year 1898 at an estimated cost of Rs. 86, 78,500. The railway was also included in the UNESCO World Heritage List thereby making it the forth railway property to be included in the world heritage list.
The railway runs through 102 tunnels and the longest tunnel in this route is located at Barog, which is a small village in Solan district, Himachal Pradesh. The tunnel in Barog measures 1143.61 meters in length. The train of Kalka-Shimla Railway passes through 864 bridges and one of them measures sixty feet. Most of the bridges feature multi-arched galleries. The railway has 919 curves, the sharpest curve measures 48 degrees.
The locomotive that was first used to power the cars was a class "B" 0-4-0ST, similar to the locomotives that were used in Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. Between 1904 and 1910, bigger locomotives were introduced, which were sourced from Hunslet and North British Locomotive Company. Three trains are operated on Kalka-Shimla Railway Track and these are Shivalik Deluxe Express, Rail car and other local trains. Rail cars are mainly used for the transportation of the travelers of the upper class.
Some of the major stations of Kalka-Shimla Railway network are Dharampur, Solan, Kandaghat, Taradevi, Barog, Salogra, Summerhill and Shimla. It is the forth railway in India that has been listed on the UNESCO world heritage site.
The Kalka-Shimla Railway Section
- Shimla was the summer capital of British India, The Section was constructed for the smooth transportation of the entire government machinery during the summers and the line started operating from nov.9, 1903 .
- The route length is 96 kms.on 762 mm gauge. The laying of the track is a wonder of civil engineering. 102 tunnels were bored through the mountains and 869 bridges were erected.
- The longest tunnel on the route is at Barog, which is 1,144 m long and the second longes6t is the Koti tunnel.
- The train meanders around the hills and crosses the valleys moving with ease and grace, through the alpine contry.
- The journey is an exciting experience for the visitors. On july 7th 2008 , the Kalka-Shimla Railway was included in the UNESCO’s world Heritage List.
The Mettuppalaiyam-Udagamandlam Section
- Nilgiri Railway- the pride of Tamil Nadu, climbs form Mettuppalaiyam to Udagamandalam (Ooty), covering a distance of 46 kms. And is the only rack railway system in the country.
- The railway section was inaugurated on August 11, 1898. The trains originally wnt up to Coonoor and was later extended till Udagamandalam in 1908.
- The journey is most unique and entertaining, as the engine is on the rear side and it pushes the coaches rather than pulling them.
- When the gradient increases and gets too steep, a second pair of cylinders on the locomotive gets activated by the mechanism underneath the engine, which engages the toothed rail in the middle of the track giving the giving the engine extra push.
- Bayer peacock were the first engines to haul the train on the track with 16 tunnels and many bridges. The railway section has also been nominated as a world Heritage Site by UNESCO.