Shimla, May 1 (UNI) Traveling on the historic UNESCO World Heritage Kalka-Shimla toy train is like taking a trip back in time. In order to settle its summer capital in the hilly region, the British rule developed the Kalka-Shimla route in 1903 under the Governorship of Lord Curzon.
Operating on 762 mm narrow gauge railway on North-West India and providing an important transport link to various parts of the state’s hilly region and lower plains of Kalka, the Toy Train is still unmatched when it comes to absorbing magnificent beauty of the mountains. The locomotives used during the earlier period were manufactured by Sharp, Stewart and Company, and larger locomotives were introduced which were manufactured by Hunslet Engine Company. The diesel and diesel-hydraulic locomotives were started operation in 1955 and 1970 respectively. The railway was declared a heritage by the Himachal Pradesh government in 2007, and in 2008 it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site alongwith the other Mountain Railways of India.
This route passes through a city named Solan, which is also known as mini Shimla. A festival celebrating the goddess Shoolini Devi, after which the city is named, is held each summer in June.
The Kalka–Shimla Railway was built to connect Shimla, the summer capital of India during the British Raj, with the Indian rail system. Now, Shimla is the capital city of Himachal Pradesh and Kalka is a town in the Panchkula district of Haryana. The route is famous for its scenery and improbable construction.
Stations: The route winds from the Himalayan Shivalik Hills foothills at Kalka to several important points such as Dharampur, Solan, Kandaghat, Taradevi, Barog, Salogra, Totu (Jutogh), Summerhill and Shimla at an altitude of 2,076 meters (6,811 ft),
Tunnels: Originally 107 tunnels were built on Kalka Shimla Railway Track and 102 remain in use. The longest tunnel is at Barog. Engineer Colonel Barog dug the tunnel from both ends and could not align them and was symbolically fined one rupee. He couldn’t live with the shame and committed suicide inside the incomplete tunnel. Chief Engineer H.S. Herlington later completed the tunnel with help from Bhalku, a local sadhu