On 9 November 1903, the narrow gauge Kalka Shimla Railway Line was opened to traffic. Initially, there were 107 tunnels and in 1930, as some of them were defunct, they were renumbered to 103. Today, there are 102 tunnels but for tradition’s sake, the line is still referred to have a 103. There are eight hundred bridges and nine hundred curves and during its course through the picturesque countryside, at times the line goes through a succession of reverse curves of over thirty-six metres radii.
On July 2008, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee gave the Kalka Shimla Line World Heritage status saying: “The Kalka Shimla Railway represents an exceptional technical achievement in the development of the Himalayan mountains because of its length, its altitude and the difficulty of the terrain through which it runs in difficult tropical climatic conditions.” While H.S. Harington was the Engineer, the Kalka Shimla Railway Line is supposed to have been built on the trace ‘revealed’ by Bhalku, a labourer who worked on the line. Acknowledging the latter’s role, the railway museum at Shimla is named as the ‘Baba Bhalku Museum’.
The views all through are magnificent and the steady journey allows one to soak them well. There are fields, open valleys and woods that the train passes through – apart from the bridges that resemble Roman aqueducts and the numerous tunnels. Practically every one of the stations has neat hedges, flower beds and hanging baskets and neatly gabled roofs.
The distance covered is a little over ninety-six kilometres and the journey takes around five and a half hours. The main stops on the route are Dharampur, Barog, Solan and Kandaghat. The stoppages time are well with the moments you may require a meal or snack – which are available at the stations. Rooms at nominal rates are available at the stations. Rooms at nominal rates are available at Dharampur and Barog. The broad-gauge station at Kalka in connected to practically every major city in India by train connections.
Stations in Kalka Shimla Railway along with their distances from Shimla
Shimla – Summer Hill (3 kms) – Jutogh (7 kms) – Taradevi (11 kms) – Shoghi (18 kms) – Kathleeghat (24 kms) – Kanoh (31 kms) – Kandaghat (38 kms) – Salogra (43 kms) – Solan Brewery (46 kms) – Solan (50 kms) – Barog (54 kms) – Kumarhatti (57 kms) – Dharampur (53 kms) – Sanwara (70 kms) – Jabli (75 kms) – Koti (80 kms) – Gumman (85 kms) – Taksal (90 kms) – Kalka (96 kms)