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Kalka–Shimla Railway Overview

The Kalka-Shimla Railway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, traverses through the picturesque landscapes of the Himalayas, offering an enchanting journey filled with nostalgia and scenic beauty. Connecting the town of Kalka in Haryana to the charming hill station of Shimla in Himachal Pradesh, this historic railway route is hailed as an engineering marvel and a testament to human ingenuity.

As the train chugs along the winding tracks, passengers are treated to breathtaking views of lush green valleys, mist-clad mountains, and quaint villages nestled amidst the hills. The journey is punctuated by numerous tunnels, viaducts, and bridges, each adding to the charm and allure of the ride.

The Kalka-Shimla Railway, affectionately dubbed the "Toy Train," evokes a sense of nostalgia, taking travelers back to a bygone era of steam locomotives and colonial splendor. The train itself is a marvel of craftsmanship, with its vintage coaches adorned with polished woodwork and brass fittings, exuding an old-world charm that captivates passengers of all ages.

Beyond its aesthetic appeal, the railway holds immense historical significance, having been constructed in the late 19th century to provide access to the summer capital of British India. Today, it stands as a symbol of heritage and perseverance, delighting tourists with its timeless beauty and enduring legacy.

A journey on the Kalka-Shimla Railway is not just a mode of transportation; it's an unforgettable experience that transports travelers to a simpler time, where the journey is as memorable as the destination itself. Whether it's soaking in the panoramic views from the train's windows or marveling at the engineering feats along the way, every moment spent aboard this iconic railway is a testament to the enduring allure of the mountains and the spirit of adventure.

For those planning a Shimla tour, a ride on the Kalka-Shimla Railway is a must-do experience. It adds a unique touch to the itinerary, offering a blend of history, scenery, and adventure. So, don't miss the chance to embark on this memorable journey and create lasting memories amidst the Himalayas.

Highlights

• Enjoy a ride along the Kalka-Shimla Railway, and pass through 102 tunnels, 864 bridges, and 919 curves on your way from Kalka to Shimla.
• Feel the charm of a bygone era in vintage coaches during a journey filled with breathtaking Himalayan landscapes.
• Discover the excitement of passing through the longest tunnel at Barog, offering a moment of awe and mystery.
• Experience the unique thrill of crossing the architectural marvel of Bridge No. 226, spanning deep valleys with steep hills on both sides.
• Relish local delicacies at quaint station stops, where you can savour tea and snacks while soaking in the serene beauty of the Himalayas.

How To Reach

To visit the Kalka-Shimla Railway, you must first reach Kalka, the gateway to this historic railway line. 

By Bus: You can easily reach the Kalka-Shimla Railway station from Kalka city centre by bus. Private buses as well as those run by HRTC (Himachal Road Transport Corporation) are available on the route. By bus, you can cover the 2.9-kilometre journey in 20 to 30 minutes. 

By Car: If you prefer a more personal mode of transport, take a car, taxi or shared jeep from the Kalka city centre to the Kalka-Shimla Railway station. The station is just 2.9 kilometres away, making for a brief drive of about 20 minutes.

Best Time To Visit

The Kalka-Shimla Railway delights travellers with its scenic beauty all year round. It offers a unique experience through the changing seasons across its winding mountain tracks.

Best Season: The best time to visit and enjoy a ride along the Kalka-Shimla Railway is from the autumn to spring seasons, between October to June. These months avoid the heavy monsoon rains while presenting the lush greenery of post-rain landscapes and the pristine snow in winter, enhancing the journey's charm.

Best Day of the Week: Visiting the Kalka-Shimla Railway on weekdays is best to avoid weekend crowds. These days ensure a more peaceful journey and easier access to tickets for this scenic and historic mountain train route.

Best Time of the Day: Try planning your rides during the early morning, especially those starting around 05:30 a.m. These hours offer crisp, clear views of the sunrise over the Himalayas, with cooler temperatures making the journey more comfortable.

Other Essential Information

  • Book tickets in advance, especially during peak season to ensure a spot.
  • Choose the right side for the best views on your way to Shimla.
  • On the return trip, sitting on the left side offers magnificent scenery.
  • Opt for the morning trains to enjoy the misty mountains and clearer views.
  • Pack light, however, and carry water and snacks for the journey.
  • Dress in warm clothes as the weather can change from warm to cool.
  • Arrive at the station early to avoid last-minute rushes.
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Point of Interest for Kalka–Shimla Railway
Ride the Kalka-Shimla Toy Train
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Ride the Kalka-Shimla Toy Train

Enjoy a magical journey aboard the Kalka-Shimla Toy Train, a marvel of engineering that weaves through the Himalayan mountains. This UNESCO World Heritage Site connects the plains of Kalka with the hill station of Shimla over a 96-kilometre track. Along the way, you will experience breathtaking views of valleys, forests, and hillsides. The train will pass through 102 tunnels and over 868 bridges, including the famous 18-arched viaduct at Taradevi. The ride, lasting about 5 to 7 hours, offers a unique glimpse into the heart of the Himalayas, making it a must-do for any traveller to Shimla. 

Witness the Charm of Barog Station
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Witness the Charm of Barog Station

Barog Station, a pivotal stop on the Kalka-Shimla Railway, lets you step into a scene from a bygone era. Named after Colonel Barog, this station sits near Tunnel 33, which is the longest tunnel on the route. Surrounded by lush greenery and offering panoramic views of the hills, it is a perfect spot to stretch your legs, sip some tea, and soak in the tranquillity of the Himalayas. The tunnel's history, coupled with the station's old-world charm, adds a layer of intrigue to your journey. 

Cross the Architectural Wonder of Bridge No. 226
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Cross the Architectural Wonder of Bridge No. 226

Experience the thrill of crossing Bridge No. 226, an architectural masterpiece that showcases the engineering skills behind the Kalka-Shimla Railway. This viaduct, also known as the "Arch Gallery" bridge, spans a deep valley with steep hills on both sides. It also offers a moment of awe as the train carefully navigates this spectacular structure. Constructed using a series of arches, the bridge is a symbol of the mastery required to connect the remote regions of the Himalayas with the rest of India.

Savour Local Flavors at Station Stops
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Savour Local Flavors at Station Stops

The journey on the Kalka-Shimla Railway is an amazing and peaceful place. At various station stops, indulge in local delicacies of the region by trying out the tea and snacks available. These stops offer a chance to interact with locals, enjoy the serene beauty of the Himalayas, and make your train ride a gastronomic delight as well. Each station has its unique offerings, allowing you to taste the regional cuisine of Himachal Pradesh. On the way, you can gorge on Chatpate Chane, Samosas, Cutlets and more, enhancing the overall experience of your journey.

Capture the Scenic Beauty from Vista Dome Coaches
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Capture the Scenic Beauty from Vista Dome Coaches

For those seeking an immersive experience, the Vista Dome coaches on the Kalka-Shimla Railway offer unparalleled views of the surrounding landscape. Introduced to enhance the tourist experience, these coaches, with their large windows and glass ceilings, provide a 360-degree view of the Himalayan beauty. As you glide through tunnels and over bridges, the changing scenery from dense pine forests to mountain vistas and quaint hillside villages is a photographer's dream. The panoramic views that these coaches offer make every moment aboard the train a picturesque memory to cherish.

Tourism Board Alliances

Kalka–Shimla Railway Reviews

review-img
Shubha Guha
Reviewed: 15 Feb 2020
4.0/5
The Koti Resort Stay was worth a visit, as the location is just perfect to spend quality time with my wife. We loved the property.

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