Shimla Kalka Toy Train
20 years ago we road up the line from Kalka to Shimla, this time it is a down trip on the Toy Train. When the British established Shimla as the summer capital in 1864 it took days to get up from the plains to enjoy the cool breezes at 2’200 meters until the railway was opened in 1903. Work was not easy, as 107 tunnels had to be bored, 864 bridges were built and 97 kilometers of rails laid. It is a truly stunning line winding and climbing unendingly along ridges, ducking through tunnels to get to the other side and rattling over anything from culverts to 4 tiered viaducts. We ride on the standard class only ‘Himalayan Queen’. This is the only down train that travels the full line in daylight. It has a rather easygoing schedule taking 5 hours 40 minutes, but you are rewarded with lots of station life and many crossings with up trains.
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