After remaining off for six months the Kalka-Shimla route resumed it’s rail movement on Sunday as a Special train run on the heritage route.
A railway official confirmed that a special train run by the Indian Railways on the Shimla-Kalka heritage railway line brought two passengers to the state capital on Sunday morning, Anurag Sharma, a candidate appearing for the National Defence Academy(NDA) and Naval Academy Examination (I) and (II), 2020, boarded the train along with his father at Solan at 1630 hrs and arrived in Shimla, around 45 kilometres away, at 1910 hrs to appear for the exam conducted by the Union Public Service Commission(UPSC).
Services on the Shimla-Kalka rail line had been suspended since March this year due to the corona virus pandemic, and the special train was run on the instructions of the central government for the benefit of the candidates, the railway official said.
“There were no other passengers in the train, presumably because it takes less time to travel from Solan to Shimla in a bus or a car,” said the official. It usually takes 1.5 to 2 hours to travel between the two towns via the road, while the train takes more time due to the difficult terrain.
Chief Commercial Inspector AS Thakur said that the train ran with seven coaches, and the down train to Solan, which left Shimla at 6:30 in the evening, had no passengers.
The Kalka Shimla Railway, part of the Mountain Railways of India, was included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2008. The 96 kilometre-long railway line from Kalka to Shimla passes through 102 tunnels, 988 bridges and 917 curves some of which are as sharp as 48 degrees, according to the Indian Railways. The longest tunnel near Barog is 1,143 metres long.