The Soul of Himachal – Kalka Shimla Railway

23 Oct

Kalka Shimla Toy Train is a part of the mountain railway project located in Himachal Pradesh, India. It was built by the British in 1903 to provide access to their summer capital of Shimla. Being a 2 ft 5 inch narrow gauge railway, it covers the entire mountainous route from Kalka to Shimla. It is popular all around for the picturesque views of hills and the surrounding villages. Spectacular scenery during the whole journey keeps the traveler to spell bound on this line. It rejuvenates passengers when the cozy air touches their cheeks and then further makes its way upwards along the narrow track through majestic mountains and pine forests. Due to its glory and charm, it is also listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Kalka Shimla Railway

Image by Shubh M Singh on

The route of this train offers panoramic views of all the hill stations. It stops at several points namely Dharampur, Solan, Kandaghatm Taradevi, Barog, Salogra, Totu, Summerhill and Shimla. Originally, there were 107 tunnels that built on this track. In 1930, four of them were discarded, so, remained 103. In 2006, again tunnel no. 46 were dismantled and the number became 102. So, presently there are 102 tunnels but the last tunnel no. 103 at Shimla is still famous as tunnel no. 103. This tunnel is a famous landmark of the town. The longest tunnel is located at Barog. This tunnel is associated with a number of tales and legends.


Himalayan Queen going through a tunnel on the Kalka–Shimla Railway route

Total 864 bridges are located on this line. One of the bridge is 18.29 meter plate girder span. Other bridges have multi-arched galleries like the ancient Roman aqueducts. Bridge No. 493 is known as the “Arch Gallery” and is situated between Kandaghat and Kanoh stations. It is an arch bridge that made in three stages. Another one is bridge no. 226, located between Sonwara and Dharampur. It is an arch gallery bridge and have tier galleries of multiple spans.

Train passing Arch Gallery Bridge

Train passing over the Arch Gallery Bridge
Image by Jarkko Viikki on

Many sharpest curves are there. The most sharpest one is 48 degrees. Two class “B”0-4-OST locomotives were the first locomotives that arrived there from the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. Diesel locomotives are currently used on this railway.

Main tourist train services that available on this route are the Shivalik Deluxe Express, Himalayan Queen and Rail Motor Car. Each train has its own quality. A number of extra train services are available during the holiday season in India. It is usually from May to July, September, October, December and January. Rail Motor Car is also a temporary service that operates during the rush time of the year, only to manage the crowd.

Toy Train Kalka Shimla

Image by edge_one on

This train is also used for making documentaries and shooting the songs of Indian Bollywood movies. In the UK, the BBC has made a series of documentaries on the Indian Hill Railways. First documentary deals with the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway while the third one deals with Kalka-Shimla Railway. It’s shown on BBC FOUR TV on February 2010, on BBC TWO on April 2010 and again on BBC FOUR in January 2012 & September 2012. Songs related to the movie “Tridevi” also shot in this train and many others are in the list.

Thus, the route is the soul and the heart of the Himachal Pradesh, India. A large number of visitors go there throughout the year to enjoy their vacation and surprised by the beauty of the place. They keep the memories of the journey by taking the photographs of this breathtaking destination.


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14 responses to “The Soul of Himachal – Kalka Shimla Railway

  1. queenzdesire12

    October 23, 2013 at 6:46 am

    Bhaut sundar !

  2. ventisqueras

    October 23, 2013 at 7:31 am

    è molto interessante e piacevole per me avere notizie così dettagliate su un lontano paese che molto amo
    grazie e felice giornata Ventis

    It is very interesting and enjoyable for me to have such detailed news on the distant country that much love
    thanks and happy day

  3. Sonnja

    October 23, 2013 at 8:14 am

    Beautiful photos!

  4. Pat

    October 23, 2013 at 11:23 am

    What a ride that would be! Such a beautiful, scenic route.

  5. Harsha

    October 23, 2013 at 11:26 am

    This is so lovely..Very detailed post and with Lovely Picture.. 😀

  6. antsjetiek

    October 25, 2013 at 9:10 am

    Nice photo’s from the collerfull train

  7. tyanajones

    November 1, 2013 at 7:39 am

    Stunning pictures…great post

  8. Stephen G. Hipperson

    November 3, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    What a bridge!

  9. Iksa

    November 12, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    Very nice to ride the train …

  10. Mary Strong-Spaid

    December 12, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    What a beautiful old train bridge!
    Enjoyed the scenery.

  11. markjonesbuilding

    December 12, 2014 at 5:45 am

    Wonderful information on a fascinating railway bridges. I have a blog on bridges and have been researching India and its fascinating history for a future post. Thank you for sharing.

  12. Dokka Srinivasu

    December 16, 2014 at 7:53 am

    Swati Sing madam namaste. I saw many new posts in your website regularly relating to various monuments etc. of our glorious heritage. Through your website many people got knowledge about our glorious heritage. I hope you remember me as some months back you are giving some comments in my blog.

    Recently i am presented my Third Seminar on Indian Heritage and Culture to young children. In this seminar i am sharing my paintings and other collections relating to Indian Heritage and explaining children about various aspects of our Heritage and Culture through my collections. Children are eagerly participated in my seminar and they clarified their doubts about our glorious heritage.

    Please look into my Third Seminar on Indian Heritage post and share your valuable and inspirational comment for the same.


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