Sunday, July 12, 2009

Kalka-Shimla Railway (Mountain railways of India)

Today I have something special to share. A Special Cover from Shimla, Himchal Pradesh. Sent By our beloved blogger friend Jeevan Jyoti. This special cover issued for announcement of Kalka-Shimla Railway, UNESCO world heritage site. (Date of Issue 09.11.2008) Thanks you very much Dear Jeevan Jyoti Madam for your help.
Blogs of Jeevan Jyoti :

Special Postmark on Cover :

Mountain railways of India
Several railways were built in the mountainous regions of India. Collectively they are known as the Mountain railways of India:
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
Nilgiri Mountain Railway
Kalka-Shimla Railway
The collective designation refers to the current project by the Indian government to nominate a representative example of its historic railways to UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway was recognized in 1999, while the Nilgiri Mountain Railway was added as an extension to the site in 2005 and Kalka-Shimla Railway was added as an extension in 2008. They were recognized for being "outstanding examples of bold, ingenious engineering solutions for the problem of establishing an effective rail link through a rugged, mountainous terrain."

Kalka-Shimla Railway
The Kalka-Shimla Railway is a 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) narrow gauge railway in North-West India travelling along a mostly mountainous route from Kalka to Shimla. It is known for breathtaking views of the hills and surrounding villages, and for having the greatest incline over its 96km stretch.
Shimla (then spelt Simla) was settled by the British shortly after the first Anglo-Gurkha war, and is located at 7116 feet in the foothills of the Himalayas. By the 1830s, Shimla had already developed as a major base for the British.[citation needed] It became the summer capital of British India in 1864, and was also the headquarters of the British army in India. Prior to construction of the railway communication with the outside world was via villiage cart.
The railway was constructed by the Delhi-Umbala-Kalka Railway Company commencing in 1898. The estimated cost of Rs 86,78,500, however, the cost doubled during execution of the project.[citation needed] The 96.54 km (60 mi) line was opened for traffic November 9, 1903. Because of the high capital and maintenance cost, coupled with peculiar working conditions, the Kalka-Shimla Railway was allowed to charge fares that were higher than the prevailing tariffs on other lines. However, even this was not good enough to sustain the company and the Government had to purchase it on January 1, 1906 for Rs 1,71,07,748.
Ordinary local train halts at the Solan Station
In mid-August 2007, the government of Himachal Pradesh declared the railway a heritage property in preparation for its review in September.
For about a week starting on September 11, 2007, an expert team from UNESCO was on a visit to the railway to review and inspect the railway for possible selection as a World Heritage Site. On July 7th 2008, the Kalka-Shimla Railway was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. This has made it the fourth railway property in India to be decalerd so. Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, Nilgiri Mountain Railway and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai have already been declared as world heritage properties
Route :
The Kalka-Shimla Railway was built to connect Shimla, the summer capital of India during the British Raj, with the Indian rail system. Now, Shimla is the capital city of Himachal Pradesh and Kalka is a town in the Panchkula district of Haryana. Spectacular scenery along the whole route, and the marvels of its construction, keeps the traveler on this line spell bound. On leaving Kalka, 656 meters (2,152 ft) above sea level, the railway enters the foothills and immediately commences its climb.

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