Kalka to Shimla

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In my previous post, I had mentioned two best toy train Routs. In this post, I am going to mention another toy train route extremely popular in India.

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Kalka Shimla Toy Train

The journey begins at Kalka, a small town of Haryana district.

The journey ends at Shimla, the capital of the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, in the Himalayan foothills.

The distance in between is 96 kilometres. But the rise of altitude is from 640m to 2060m.This steepest rise in altitude within a comparatively short space has featured this Railway Route in the Guinness Book of World Record.

Experiencing this ride on the historic UNESCO World Heritage Kalka-Shimla toy train is like treasuring memories which can be cherished for a long time.

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The History

During the ruling period of the British Shimla was the summer capital of India. The England-like climate attracted several British officers to the area during the hot Indian summers.  To make this  beautiful hill station easily reachable, a proposal was placed to construct a Rail line.

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Rigorous surveys were carried out. The first in 1884 followed by another in the very next year.  Initially, in the year 1898, when the contract was signed, the rail line was supposed to be only two feet broad. However, later with the insistence of the military authorities, the gauge breadth was increased to the standard 2 feet six inches. Finally, the route was opened for traffic in the year 1903.

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The Route

The journey offers old-world travel amidst lofty pines and lush green misty mountains.  The train with a sluggish pace runs on the track.  Overcomes lots of bends and curves, sometimes at angle as sharp as 50 degrees. The most exciting part of this journey is, the train passes through 103 tunnels and crosses 800 bridges. You can spot tiny streams while crossing these bridges. Sunlight falls on them and bounces back only to create mystic glare.  The view is flanked by  mountains on the both side.

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The train takes around four and a half hour to reach Shimla. It stops at few station. Kushalya River, Koti, Barog, Kanoh and Jabli,  are the places where the views are breathtaking.

The train halts for fifteen minutes at Barog station. Passengers can get down and have some refreshments in the nearby restaurant which is regarded as one of the best at any hill station in India. The Barog tunnel just before the station is longest on the route & is more than a kilometre long.

Trains and schedule

Mainly  three types of tourist train services available in this route.

Shivalik Deluxe Express

The Shivalik Deluxe Express provides  a seating arrangement of 120 passengers. The coaches are well furnished with wall to wall carpets and glass windows enhancing the overall look. Food is provided. Moreover, light music playing in the background creates an atmosphere that is engrossing. There is no stop in the journey.

It departs Kalka at 5.30 am and reaches Shimla at 10.15 am.  The fare is 420 Rs.

Himalayan Queen

A standard affordable train service. The train halts at nine stations. Tourists can get down and purchase food from the station as food isn’t included in the service provided by the Railway Authority. This is a good option for the tourists as they can stop and take plenty of snaps and enjoy the journey.

It departs Kalka at 12.10 in the morning and reaches Shimla at 5.20 pm.  The fare is 255 Rs.

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Rail Motor Car

It is a single carriage train. Looks like a bus from the time of second world war. During its Four and half hour journey, it stops only at Barong. Food is provided by The Railway Authority.

It departs Kalka at 5.10 am and reaches Shimla at 09.50 am.  The fare is 320 Rs.

During vacation and peak holiday season, the demand of the tickets goes up. So book your ticket as early as possible to avoid last minute disappointment. The booking can be done from www.irctc.co.in.

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