NEW DELHI: In a positive development for the tourists planning to visit Himachal Pradesh, the Indian Railways has decided to bring back on track the Kalka-Shimla toy train, which will resume operations from Wednesday.
The extremely popular train was suspended for seven months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a release by the Northern Railways, the seven-coach Kalka-Shimla toy train also known as the Himalayan Queen will make its first journey from Kalka to Shimla, and vice versa, for the first time since March when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a national lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease was enforced.
The Railway Board had given its approval for the resumption of Kalka-Shimla train service last week keeping in mind the upcoming festival season. A Northern Railway official further said that the train service is being resumed keeping in mind the huge rush in view of the festival season rush.
According to the Northern Railway, the Kalka-Shimla Express Special, whose number has been revised to 04515/04516, will depart from Kalka at 12:10 and arrive in Shimla at 17:20 after stopping at 10 other stations en route.
The down train will depart from Shimla the next day at 10:40 and reach Kalka at 16:10, said railway authorities. The train has seven coaches and will run daily. Of the seven cars in the train, two will be luxury coaches. The train will be in service from October 20 to November 30.
Stations have been been sanitised and maintenance work of the track has been carried out by authorities keeping in mind the resumption of the Himalayan Queen’s services. During the journey, strict Covid-19 protocols will have to be followed.
The Kalka-Shimla railway track has been classified as a ‘world heritage route.’ It will complete its 127th anniversary on November 9, as train services on this track started on November 9, 1903.
It comes under the Ambala division of the Northern Railway and is 96 km long with 18 stations on the route. There are more than 880 bridges, as well as over 100 tunnels on this route.