By Vinit Wahi
The Railways have always been in the forefront of Nation building by creating better Travel and Tourism opportunities in a region. In this regard Northern Railway has sought to effectively contribute towards enhancing Tourism facilities in the state of Himachal Pradesh by providing greater impetus to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Kalka – Shimla Hill Railways.
Mrs Kusum Sadret, Mayor Shimla, Virender Kashyap, MP (Lok Sabha) Mr Vishwesh Chaube, General Manager, Northern Railway, Flagged-off a maiden ‘Joy Ride Train’ (52448/52447) between Shimla and Shoghi two major tourist spots in the region Mr D.C. Sharma, Divisional Railway Manager, Ambala Division and other Senior officers of Northern Railway were also present on the occasion.
The Kalka Shimla Railway is a very long-established and ambitious narrow gauge mountain railway project built by the British in India. It required a great deal of engineering development work, and took twenty years to complete, largely because of the difficult mountainous terrain and climatic conditions. The 100 km long railway line connects the towns of Kalka and Shimla. Kalka is situated at the foot hills while Shimla the erstwhile summer capital of British India and now the state capital of Himachal Pradesh, is situated at a whooping height of over 2000m in the Shivalik Region of Himalayas.
To this day the property is one of the best preserved mountain railways in India, and remains much as it was at the time of its completion. In addition to its engineering infrastructure, it has retained its stations, signalling system and more importantly its old colonial charm. On 8th July, 2008, UNESCO bestowed the World Heritage Site Tag to the Kalka – Shimla Mountain Railways in India.