This week marks the 10-year anniversary of UNESCO adding the Kalka–Shimla railway to the mountain railways of India World Heritage Site. In this anniversary year, the narrow-gauge railway located in North India – which traverses a mostly mountainous route from Kalka to the former British Raj hill station of Shimla (Himachal Pradesh) – is in the spotlight as one of the worlds’ ‘must travel aboard’ heritage lines.
Throughout the 1900’s Shimla, former headquarters for the British Army, established itself as the popular summer capital for English gentry escaping the hot weather of the plains. The journey along the 59-mile railroad, completed in 1903, is as spectacular to travel today as it was in the early years.
With 107 tunnels, 864 bridges and 919 curves the journey begins at 656 metres climbing to peak elevation of 2,076 metres at a gradient of 1:33 (3%). Emerging from the longest tunnel on the line, the Barog Tunnel (no.33) at 1,144m, Shimla-bound adventurers are treated to the magnificent views of the Himalayan mountains. The tunnel is also acclaimed to the be the straightest in the world.
Great Rail Journeys
Great Rail Journeys Ltd. has an unrivalled knowledge and understanding of holidays by rail, with more than 40 years of experience in organising them. The company uses more than 300 highly experienced Tour Managers to lead 1,100 group departures a year to destinations worldwide.
main image: courtesy of Three Little Birds PR
Want more? Join Zay Harding as he takes on an epic journey across one of the world’s biggest railway networks in our episode ‘Tough Trucks: India’s Independence Railroads’.