The Kalka–Shimla railway is a 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) narrow-gauge railway in North India which traverses a mostly-mountainous route from Kalka to Shimla. It’s recognized for dramatic views of the hills and surrounding villages. The railway was constructed underneath the path of Herbert Septimus Harington between 1898 and 1903 to attach Shimla, the summer time capital of India through the British Raj, with the remainder of the Indian rail system.

Its early locomotives had been manufactured by Sharp, Stewart and Firm. Bigger locomotives had been launched, which had been manufactured by the Hunslet Engine Firm. Diesel and diesel-hydraulic locomotives started operation in 1955 and 1970, respectively.

On Eight July 2008, UNESCO added the Kalka–Shimla railway to the mountain railways of India World Heritage Website.[1]

Historical past[edit]

Shimla (then spelt Simla), which was settled by the British shortly after the primary Anglo-Gurkha struggle, is positioned at 7,116 toes (2,169 m) within the foothills of the Himalayas.
The concept of connecting Shimla by rail was first raised by a correspondent to the Delhi gazette in November 1847.[2][3]

Shimla turned the summer time capital of British India in 1864, and was the headquarters of the Indian military. This meant that twice a yr it was essential to switch all the authorities between Calcutta and Shimla by horse and ox drawn carts.[2][4]

In 1891 the 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) broad-gauge Delhi–Kalka line opened, which made the development of a department line as much as Shimla possible.[5][2]

The earliest survey was made in 1884 adopted by one other survey in 1885. Based mostly on these two surveys, a challenge report was submitted in 1887 to the federal government of British India.[3] Contemporary surveys had been made in 1892, and 1893 which result in 4 alternate schemes being recommended – two adhesion strains 67.25 mi (108.23 km) and 69.75 mi (112.25 km) lengthy and two rack strains.[3] Contemporary surveys had been once more made in 1895 from Kalka to Solan with a view to find out whether or not a 1 in 12 rack or 1 in 25 adhesion line ought to be chosen. After a lot debate an adhesion line was chosen as opposed to a rack system.[3]

Development of the Kalka–Shimla railway on 2 ft (610 mm) narrow-gauge tracks was begun by the privately funded Delhi-Ambala-Kalka Railway Firm following the signing of a contract between the secretary of state and the corporate on 29 June 1898.[4][3] The contract specified that the road could be constructed with none monetary assist or assure from the federal government. The federal government nonetheless offered the land freed from cost to the corporate. The estimated value of 8,678,500 rupees doubled by the point the road was opened.[3] The Chief Engineer of the challenge was Herbert Septimus Harington.

The 95.68 km (59.45 mi) line opened for site visitors on 9 November 1903[4] and was devoted by Viceroy Lord Curzon.[6]
This line was additional prolonged from Shimla to Shimla Items (which had as soon as housed the bullock cart workplace) on 27 June 1909 making it 96.60 km (60.02 mi).[7]

The Indian Military had been sceptical in regards to the two toes gauge chosen for the road and requested {that a} wider customary gauge be used for mountain and lightweight strategic railways. Finally the federal government agreed that the gauge was too slim for was basically a capital metropolis and for navy functions.[2] In consequence, the contract with the railway firm was revised on 15 November 1901 and the road gauge modified to 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) with the monitor constructed thus far being regauged.[3][8] Some sources nonetheless state the regauging wasn’t undertaken till 1905.[9]

In 1905 the corporate took supply of a 10-ton Cowans Sheldon travelling crane to help with lifting rolling inventory again onto the tracks after accidents and for normal monitor upkeep.

As a result of excessive capital and upkeep prices and tough working circumstances, the railway was allowed to cost increased fares than on different strains. Nonetheless, the corporate had spent 16,525,000 rupees by 1904 with no signal of the road changing into worthwhile, which result in it being bought by the federal government on 1 January 1906 for 17,107,748 rupees.[3]

As soon as it got here underneath the management of the federal government the road was initially managed as an unbiased unit from the North West Railway workplace in Lahore till 1926, when it was transferred to Delhi Division. Since July 1987, the road has been managed by the Ambala Division from Ambala Cantt.[7]

In 2007, the Himachal Pradesh authorities declared the railway a heritage property.[10] For a couple of week, starting on 11 September 2007, a UNESCO crew visited the railway to examine it for doable choice as a World Heritage Website. On Eight July 2008, it turned a part of the mountain railways of India World Heritage Website[11] with the Darjeeling Himalayan and Nilgiri Mountain Railways.[12]

On 7 July 2011 Indian Railways opened the Baba Bhalku Rail Museum in Shimla to doc the historical past of the railway line and to show associated artefacts.[13]

Technical particulars[edit]

The monitor has 20 picturesque stations, 103 tunnels, 912 curves, 969 bridges and three% slope (1:33 gradient). The 1,143.61 m tunnel at Barog instantly earlier than the Barog station is longest, a 60 ft (18.29 m) bridge is the longest and the sharpest curve has a 123 ft (38 m) radius of curvature. The railway line initially used 42 lb/yd (20.8 kg/m) rail, which was later changed with 60 lb/yd (29.8 kg/m) rail.[4] The prepare has a mean velocity of 25–30 km/hr however the railcar is sort of 50–60 km/hr. Each the prepare and railcar are geared up with vistadomes.

The temperature vary and annual rainfall are 0–45 C and 200–250 cm, respectively.


The KSR and its property, together with the stations, line and automobiles, belong to the federal government of India underneath the Ministry of Railways. The Northern Railway handles day-to-day upkeep and administration, and a number of other applications, divisions and departments of Indian Railways are accountable for repairs.

The route winds from a top of 656 metres (2,152 ft) at Kalka within the Himalayan Shivalik Hills foothills, previous Dharampur, Solan, Kandaghat, Taradevi, Barog, Salogra, Totu (Jutogh) and Summerhill, to Shimla at an altitude of two,075 metres (6,808 ft).[8]
The distinction in top between the 2 ends of line is 1,419 metres (4,656 ft).


Station Milepost Peak above sea stage Description
Kalka 0 km (0 mi) 656 m (2,152 ft) It derived its title from Kali Mata temple positioned on the Shimla finish of the city. It’s dwelling to a diesel shed in addition to a workshop to service the slim gauge engines and carriages of the Kalka-Shimla line.[14]
Taksal 5.69 km (3.54 mi) 806 m (2,644 ft) First station after coming into Himachal acquired the title as a result of it was the place the place cash had been made in historic time.[14]
Gumman 10.41 km (6.47 mi) 940 m (3,080 ft) An remoted station, located in Kasauli hills.[14]
Koti 16.23 km (10.08 mi) 1,098 m (3,602 ft) The station is commonly visited by wild animals. The second longest tunnel (No. 10) with a size of 693.72 metres (2,276 ft 0 in) is located close to this station.[14] In August, 2007 a heavy downpour washed away a part of the station constructing and monitor.
Sonwara 26 km (16 mi) 1,334 m (4,377 ft) This companies the close by residential Sanawar College. The longest bridge (No.226) on the road with an general size of 97.40 metres (319 ft 7 in) and top of 19.31 metres (63 ft 4 in) is located close to this station.[14]
Dharampur 32.14 km (19.97 mi) 1,469 m (4,820 ft) This companies the Kasauli hill station which is 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) away. The Engineer’s Bungalow (MP 33 km (21 mi)) which was the official residence of the engineer accountable for this part of the road till the late 1960s was transformed into the Northern Railway Security Institute.[14]
Kumarhati Dagshai 39 km (24 mi) 1,579 m (5,180 ft) This remoted station serviced the Dagshai navy cantonment.[14]
Barog 42.14 km (26.18 mi) 1,531 m (5,023 ft) The longest tunnel (No.33) with a size of 1,143.61 metres (3,752 ft 0 in) is located near the Kalka facet of the station.[14]
Solan 46.10 km (28.65 mi) 1,429 m (4,688 ft) The Nationwide Institute of Analysis on Mushroom Farming and Solan Agriculture College is located close by.[14]
Salogra 52.70 km (32.75 mi) 1,509 m (4,951 ft) The well-known Solan Brewery is only a few kilometres away from Salogra station.[14]
Kandaghat 58.24 km (36.19 mi) 1,433 m (4,701 ft) Arch bridge No. 493 with a size of 32 metres (105 ft) is located right here.[14]
Kanoh 69.42 km (43.14 mi) 1,647 m (5,404 ft) The best arch gallery bridge (No.541) with a top of 23 metres (75 ft 6 in) and size of 54.Eight metres (179 ft 9 in) is located right here.[14]
Kathleeghat 72.23 km (44.88 mi) 1,701 m (5,581 ft) It’s the final station of Shimla district.[14]
Shoghi 77.81 km (48.35 mi) 1,832 m (6,010 ft) Shoghi is the primary station of Shimla district.[14]
Taradevi 84.64 km (52.59 mi) 1,936 m (6,352 ft) The title derives from Mata Tara Devi. The Sankat Mochan and Tara Devi temples are located close to this station. The third longest tunnel (No.91) at 992 metres (3,255 ft) is located on the Shimla finish of this station.[14]
Jutogh 89.41 km (55.56 mi) 1,958 m (6,424 ft) This suburb station of Shimla, as soon as served because the transit level for Jutogh Army Cantonment.[14]
Summer season Hill 92.93 km (57.74 mi) 2,042 m (6,699 ft) This suburb station of Shimla initially serviced the Viceregal Lodge. The Himachal Pradesh College is located close to the station.[14]
Shimla 95.60 km (59.40 mi) 2,075 m (6,808 ft) This lovely station is just under the previous bus stand in Shimla.[14][8]

Bridges and viaducts[edit]

The railway has 988 bridges and viaducts[8] and a ruling gradient of 1 in 33, or three %. It has 917 curves,[8] and the sharpest is 48 levels (a radius of 122.93 toes or 37.47 m).

Essentially the most architecturally advanced bridge is No. 226 which spans a deep valley which required that it needed to be constructed in 5 phases with every stage having its personal stone arched tier.


100 seven tunnels had been initially constructed, however because of landslides solely 102 stay in use.[8]

Rolling inventory[edit]

Black-and-red locomotive

The primary locomotives had been two class-B 0-4-0STs from the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. These had been constructed as 2 ft (610 mm)-gauge engines, however had been transformed to 2 ft 6 in (762 mm)-gauge in 1901. They weren’t massive sufficient (they had been offered in 1908), and had been adopted in 1902 by 10 slightly-larger engines with a 0-4-2T wheel association. The locomotives weighed 21.5 lengthy tons (21.8 t; 24.1 brief tons) every, and had 30 in (762 mm) driving wheels and 12 in × 16 in (304.8 mm × 406.4 mm) cylinders. Later categorized as B-class by the North Western State Railway, they had been manufactured by the British Sharp, Stewart and Firm.[15]

Thirty bigger 2-6-2T locomotives, with slight variations, had been launched between 1904 and 1910. Constructed by the Hunslet Engine and North British Locomotive Corporations, they weighed about 35 lengthy tons (36 t; 39 brief tons) and had 30 in (762 mm) drivers and 14 in × 16 in (355.6 mm × 406.4 mm) cylinders. Later classed Okay and K2 by the North Western State Railway, they dealt with many of the rail site visitors through the steam period. A pair of Kitson-Meyer 2-6-2+2-6-2 articulated locomotives, classed TD, had been equipped in 1928. Nevertheless, they rapidly fell into disfavour as a result of it usually took all day for sufficient freight to be assembled to justify working a items prepare hauled by one in all these locomotives. Shippers searching for quicker service started turning to highway transport. These 68-long-ton (69.09 t; 76.16-short-ton) locomotives had been quickly transferred to the Kangra Valley Railway, and had been transformed to 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in) metre gauge in Pakistan.[15] Common steam-locomotive operation resulted in 1971.

Two-tone blue locomotive

The railway’s first diesel locomotives, class ZDM-1 manufactured by Arnold Jung Lokomotivfabrik (articulated with two prime movers), started working in 1955; they had been regauged, reclassified as NDM-1 and used on the Matheran Hill Railway through the 1970s. Within the 1960s, class ZDM-2 locomotives from Maschinenbau Kiel (MaK) was launched; they had been later transferred to different strains.

The KSR presently operates with class ZDM-Three diesel-hydraulic locomotives (522 kW or 700 hp, 50 km/h or 31 mph), constructed between 1970 and 1982 by Chittaranjan Locomotive Works with a single-cab road-switcher physique.[16] Six locomotives of that class had been inbuilt 2008 and 2009 by the Central Railway Loco Workshop in Parel, with up to date parts and a dual-cab physique offering higher monitor imaginative and prescient.[17]

Aquamarine-and-white railcar at a station

The railway opened with typical four-wheel and bogie coaches. Their tare weight meant that solely 4 bogie coaches could possibly be hauled by the 2-6-2T locomotives. In a 1908 effort to extend capability, the coach inventory was rebuilt as 33-by-7-foot (10.1 by 2.1 m) bogie coaches with metal frames and our bodies. To additional save weight, the roofs had been fabricated from aluminium. The load financial savings meant that the locomotives may now haul six of the bigger coaches. This was an early instance of using aluminium in coach building to cut back tare weight.[4]

Items rolling inventory was constructed on a typical 30-by-7-foot (9.1 by 2.1 m) pressed-steel underframe. Open and lined wagons had been offered, with the open wagons having a capability of 19 lengthy tons (19.30 t; 21.28 brief tons) and the lined wagons 17.5 lengthy tons (17.8 t; 19.6 brief tons).[4]

Throughout the winter months snow cutters are connected to the engine to clear the snow from the monitor.[7]


  • Shivalik Deluxe Categorical: Ten coaches, with chair vehicles and meal service
  • Kalka Shimla Categorical: First and second class and unreserved seating
  • Himalayan Queen: Connects at Kalka with the categorical mail of the identical title and the Kalka Shatabdi Categorical to Delhi.
  • Kalka Shimla Passenger: First and second class and unreserved seating
  • Rail Motor: First-class railbus with a glass roof and a entrance view
  • Shivalik Queen: Ten-carriage luxurious fleet. Every carriage accommodates as much as eight individuals and has two bathrooms, wall-to-wall carpeting and enormous home windows. Out there by IRCTC’s Chandigarh workplace.


BBC 4 televised Indian Hill Railways, a sequence of three programmes[18] which featured the KSR in its third episode, in February 2010; the primary two episodes lined the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway and Nilgiri Mountain Railway. The episodes, directed by Tarun Bhartiya, Hugo Smith and Nick Mattingly respectively, had been produced by Gerry Troyna. Indian Hill Railways gained a Royal Tv Society award in June 2010.[19] The KSR additionally featured within the Punjab episode of CNN’s Anthony Bourdain: Elements Unknown.

In 2018, the KSR was featured in an episode of the BBC Two programme Nice Indian Railway Journeys.[20]

Additional studying[edit]

Exterior hyperlinks[edit]

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