Monday, January 4, 2010

Kalka-Shimla Railway

We went to Shimla by train.

The Kalka-Shimla Railway is 106 years old. The mountainous 96 km route has a ruling gradient of 1:33. It has over 800 multi-arched viaducts constructed of brick and stone in the ancient Roman style, and 102 tunnels. The longest of these, at 1143 m, is the Barog Tunnel, named after Colonel S. Barog, the engineer in charge of its construction. Barog started digging the tunnel from both ends but midway, he found that he had made an error in alignment. The British government fined him Re. 1 for his mistake. Unable to bear this humiliation, Barog went for a walk in the woods with his dog, and shot himself. The tunnel we passed through was constructed 1 km away from Barog’s original tunnel, which now lies abandoned.

Next time I go to Shimla, I’d like to go by the rail motor car, the curious-looking vehicle on the bottom left. It accommodates fourteen people, and has a transparent roof and an altimeter.

I have now covered three of the four UNESCO World Heritage Sites which are under the Indian Railways – VT in Bombay, the DHR, and the Kalka-Shimla Railway. I could have travelled the Nilgiri Mountain Railway too while I was in Tamil Nadu last September, had I not decided, like a fool, that visiting Ooty all alone would be too boring.

6 comments:

Rahul Saha said...

What is it with some people and trains? Have you read "Great Railway Journeys". Bala has a copy if you want.

Shrabasti Banerjee said...

I'd like to go to Shimla. And trains are lovely. The last time I was on one was three years back. :O

Indecision Personified said...

And I have covered two... :-)

Shrabasti Banerjee said...

Hey, Tandemletters! *reminderreminder*

Sroyon said...

@Saha: I read it at your place, in Brockley. You've forgotten.

@Shrabasti: My next post might intensify that desire. Or so I am hoping. And thanks for your reminder, but I'm thinking of scrapping those. Let's see.

@IP: Even the Neral-Matheran route might get heritage status some day. Then you will have covered three.

gousgame said...

super post!