All facts and myths about Kalka Shimla Railways you should know
Kalka Shimla railway is one of the major tourist attractions in Himachal Pradesh. It’s not just a regular train journey which you do but it connects you to the heritage and rich past which connects you even to nature. The way this railway route is built is an epitome of engineering. Let’s know some facts and myths about this legendary rail route in Himachal Pradesh.
- 1898: The Kalka–Shimla Railway construction started on 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge tracks by the Delhi-Ambala-Kalka Railway Company. The track was 96.6 km long.
- Rs 86,78,500 The estimated cost for the project was estimated at Rs. 86,78,500 but the cost doubled during construction. Now can you believe that!
- 9th November 1903: The line was first opened for the general public inaugurated by then viceroy of India – Lord Curzon.
- 1906 the line was regauged to 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) to conform to standards set by the Indian War Department.
- Rs. 1, 71, 07, 748: On 1st of January 1906, the railway was being bought by the government for an amount of 1,71,07,748 (and we are still talking about 1906). It was because the company wanted to hike the prices to reach the maintenance cost but it was not allowed by the government.
- H.S. Harington was the Chief Engineer of the project.
- There are 864 bridges. 919 curves ( the sharpest being 48 degrees).
- Height Difference of 1,420 meters (4,660 ft).Climbing from Kalka at 656 meters (2,152 ft), the line terminates at an elevation of 2,076 meters (6,811 ft) at Shimla.
- 107 tunnels were there at the time of construction which is now reduced to 103.
- August 2007: The government of the state of Himachal Pradesh made a declaration that railway would be considered as a heritage asset and preparations are being made for having a review for the month of September.
- 11th September 2007: UNESCO team arrived to examine the status of the Shimla Kalka Railway and to decide if it deserves to be in World Heritage Sites.
- 8th July 2008: Shimla – Kalka railway became world heritage site.
- Barog tunnel is the longest of the 103 operational tunnels on the route of the Shimla-Kalka Railway, which is 1143.61m long. Trains take about 2.5 minutes to cross this tunnel, running at 25 kilometres per hour
- 40KM/Hr the fastest Kalka Shimla train can go, lowest being 25KM/hr
- Colonel Barog : Barog railway station is named after him. It was under his supervision the digging of the Barog tunnel started. The digging was being done from both sides and the engineers discovered mid-way that a proper alignment to the tunnel could not be found. The British government fined Barog (Just Rupee 1) with accusations of wasting the property of the government. Colonel Barog felt humiliated and out of frustration and depression committed suicide. He was buried near the incomplete tunnel. The work was then assigned to Chief Engineer HS Harrington.
- Baba Bhalku’s legend: Harrington and his team with all their instruments struggled to find a solution to the same hurdle of alignment. Then Baba Bhalku happened. The alignment to the Barog tunnel was found and what could not be achieved with a reasonable explanation was achieved by something that was extremely reasonable but completely unexplainable. He would just hear to the mountain after striking from his stick and ask British engineer to dug a hole there. It worked and he was hired to do the same for rest of the tunnels. The British Government honoured Bhalku Ram by presenting him a medal and a turban.
How many of them did you know? Did we miss any? do you want us to add more? Just let us know through your comment. Also read the Haunting of the barog tunnel. It’s a good read.
You can see the video in Hindi here
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