Magnificent, exotic and blissful – these are the words that would aptly describe the landscape of Shimla. Every year thousands of tourists from India as well as from around the world visit Shimla to indulge in playful activities in the snow clad mountains. Adding to the charm of the place is the Kalka-Shimla Railway Route, which is enlisted as the UNESCO world heritage site.
Taking a trip on this historic UNESCO toy train would be like traversing back to British era. The Kalka-Shimla Railway route is located at a height of 7,116 feet in the foothills of Himalayas. This narrow gauge route travels mostly on the mountainous region from Kalka to Shimla and provides the visitor a stunning view of the snowy hills and the villages.
The Kalka-Shimla railway route was built by the British in 1903 to have free access to their Summer Capital, Shimla. This captivating train journey runs for about 60 miles through 20 stations, 800 bridges, and 102 tunnels and throughout the journey it takes about 900 curves and turns.
There are 3 main train services that shuffle travelers to and fro on the Kalka-Shimla route.
Shivalik Deluxe Express – It is a premium class train service that has wide glass windows and a carpet that greets the travelers in a grand way. The cushioned seats and the soothing music that plays through the journey provide you a very relaxing journey. The train carries around 120 passengers and it runs non-stop. The highlight of this train ride is that the travelers are provided free food during the journey.
Rail Motor Car – This train service has a very unique resemblance to the bus of the Second World War. The transparent roof of the train is a huge hit among the tourists and it stops only at Barog. This small train fits about 14 passengers and provides free food.
Himalayan Queen – This is a standard train and the journey doesn’t include free food. The train is popular among the low budget tourists and people who like to explore the beautiful landscape. The train halts at 10 stations where you can buy food and even stop by at various beautiful spots to click pictures with your loved ones and carry sweet memories of the journey back home.
Apart from these trains that carry passengers, there are two heritage carriages that run on this beautiful route, the Shivalik Palace Tourist Coach and the Shivalik Queen Tourist Coach. These historic carriages were recently refurbished as part of the newly introduced Heritage Train. The main purpose of the refurbishment was to give the tourists a glimpse of the glorious past of the British era. These carriages run only once in a week. The train ride can be best enjoyed during the peak tourist season that spans over 7 months from September to March.
If you are travelling to Shimla during the peak season, you may find that these train run full so make sure that you get your reservations done early to avoid any hassles while you arrive at the destination. Shimla is one of the most beautiful tourist destinations in India, get your bookings early and enjoy to the fullest with your friends and relatives.