Saturday, April 12, 2014

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Toy Train 
THE Kalka-Shimla heritage rail route features in theGuinness Book of World Records for offering the steepest rise in altitude in the space of 96 kilometers. It passes through 103 tunnels and across more than 800 bridges and viaducts and is one of the most beautiful hill railways in world. It was considered the "crown jewel" of the Indian National Railways during British times. Flanked by hills on both sides, the rail line, like twin threads of silver, clings to the steep cliffs and ventures boldly over bridges, built over tiny streams that show off their radiance in the sunlight. The cool breeze sweeps across your face as the train makes an arduous climb of almost 4800 feet from Kalka to Shimla in almost five hours.  The toy train guzzles along the line, whistling through the deodar, pine, oak and maple trees at a speed of 22 km an hour. As the journey begins, one is overwhelmed by the natural beauty and the majestic glory of the railway stations and Gothic-style bridges en route. The most refreshing part of the journey is the experience of sitting by the window, breathing in the cool breeze and taking in the greenery, smell of fresh dew on the vegetation, the chirping of birds and the sight of cattle grazing around the track, especially in morning toy trains.

Heritage Railway Line : Some facts
  • Train Gauge - Narrow (762mm)
  • Track Length - Over 96 Km
  • Project Launched in - 1901
  • Project Completed in - 1903
  • Train Service Commenced - November 9, 1903
  • Bridges - Over 800
  • Longest Bridge - Near Dharampur (70 mt)
  • Tunnels - 103 (1 not in service) Longest Tunnel - Barog (1.1 Km)
  • Maximum Height - above 2000 m above sea level
  • Curves - 900 (70% track is in curves)
  • Train - After 1965, hauled by Diesel Engine
  • Maximum Number of Coaches - Seven
  • Services - seven coach train and rail car
  • Heritage Sites - Four on last count
  • Now in UNESCO world Heritage List
The first main station is at Dharampur, at a height of 4,900 feet and at a distance of 20 miles from Kalka. The gradient here is very steep, and in order to achieve the flatter gradients required by the Railways, the line develops into three loops at Taksal, Gumman and Dharampur. Twenty four miles from Kalka, the railway line is 5,200 feet above sea, where it falls to 4,900 feet at Solan, and further to 4,667 feet at Kandaghat (36-and-a half miles from Kalka), where the final ascent to Shimla starts. The rail line goes through Shoghi and from Tara Devi, the rail line goes round the Prospect Hill to Jatogh, winding in a series of curves round Summer Hill and burrows under the Inver arm Hill to emerge below the road on the south side of Inver arm, and thus reaches Shimla.
One of the most interesting features of the Kalka-Shimla route is the absence of girder bridges. There is only one 60-foot plate girder span in a pinewood near Dharampur and a steel trestle viaduct, which replaced a stone gallery in 1935. Multi-arched galleries like ancient Roman aqueducts have been used to take the tracks over the difficult terrain. These stone masonry arched bridges, which use lime stone, have as many as four storey's, each storey having an arch and each arch having a different configuration.
Most of the 102 tunnels (the 1930’s renumbering, with numbers going up to 103, has not been changed till date though tunnel number 46 does not exist any more) too have a history of their own. An interesting feature about these tunnels is that till today, whenever these tunnels have to be illuminated for maintenance, plain mirrors are used to catch the sunlight and reflect this light inside the tunnel.
To save the fixture from extinction, Indian Railways and preservationist groups appealed to UNESCO, the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization, to give the toy train world heritage status and the same was accorded to it.

Kalka Shimla train time table

Economical, deluxe and premium services for travelers on the Kalka-Shimla rail section are made available by the Indian railways. The time table is set as per further train connectivity and general tourist requirements. Special trains are also run during the holiday season. Visit the Indian railways website for the latest update on timings and services.

Kalka Shimla Mail 

This is the oldest train service with wooden coaches having small windows and plain wooden seats with no cushions. This train has a stop at Shoghi.

The Himalayan queen  

This is most popular train having cushioned standard chair car seats with large windows for greater views and good ambience.

Deluxe Motor  Car

The Deluxe Rail Motor Car is a visual delight as it resembles a bus of the Second World War vintage. Seating capacity is 14 passengers at a time and it takes 4.25 hrs to reach the destination. The car possesses a transparent fiber-glass in place of roof for a clear view of the sky and hill tops. Time-cum-temperature display unit, altimeter and route indication board are also available for valuable information while traveling.

The Shivalik Deluxe Express 

The Shivalik Deluxe Express is a connecting service to Howrah-Kalka Mail for Shimla. The coaches are equipped with wall-to-wall carpeting, wide glass windows and reversible cushioned chairs, improved lighting and a music system.

The Shivalik Palace Tourist Coach 

The Shivalik Palace Tourist Coach is equipped with folding cushioned bed, refrigerator, on-board-kitchen and dining table with cushioned chairs and offers a luxurious ambience for a nightmare holiday.

The Shivalik Queen Tourist Coach 

The Shivalik Queen is a luxury coach equipped with ultramodern facilities.
These coaches are attached to other trains as per requirements.
For tourists coming to Deepjyoti, please note that some trains do not stop at Shoghi. We can arrange a pickup from Taradevi/Shimla Railway Station.

Kalka to Shimla

Train No.Train Name DepartureArrival
1 KSKLK SML Pass4:00 9:15
241Shivalik Dlx Exp 5:30 10:15
251 Kalka Simla Exp 6:00 11:00
255 Himalayan Queen 12:1017:20
101 Rail Motor 11:3515:40

Holiday special trains: Theses are run during the peak tourist season

253 Holiday Special6:0011:05
257 Holiday Special12:3018:35
Shimla to Kalka
Train No.Train Name DepartureArrival
256Himalayan Queen 10:3016:05
2KS KLK SML Pass14:2520:10 
242Shivalik Dlx Exp17:4022:20 
252Kalka Simla Exp18:1523:15 
102Rail Motor 11:3016:25 

Holiday special trains: Theses are run during the peak tourist season 
258Holiday Special9:25 15:15 
254Holiday Special15:50 21:05 
Some trains from Delhi
Kalka Mail Old Delhi  10:50 PMKalka05:00 AM
Kalka  11:45 PMOld Delhi06:25 AM
Himalayan Queen  New Delhi 06:00 AMKalka11:20 AM
Kalka 04:50 PMNew Delhi10:10 PM
Train Through The Tunnel

Shimla Station
Summer Hill Station
Train On Track

Train Above Deepjyoti
Tara Devi Tunnel
Track Above Deepjyoti
Man At Work At Shoghi Station

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