As Kalka-Shimla toy train has resumed its service after around seven months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, passengers are lining up to reach Shimla through the 90-km-long British-era narrow gauge railway track.
The resumption of Kalka Shatabdi Express on December 3 has also boosted the train traffic. Railway officials hope that the rush of passengers will increase in the coming days. Passengers coming directly from Delhi prefer to go to Shimla on the toy train. Tickets for the toy train are available through online booking and at the Kalka railway station.
Kalka station superintendent Gokul Kumar said, “The response to the toy train is not like previous years when the situation was normal. Rush has started increasing. It will increase further once there is snowfall in Shimla, which generally occurs around December 25. Last week, 115 seats out of 180 were occupied. Today, at least 50 passengers out of 79, who boarded the toy train, Kalka-Shimla Himalyan Queen, arrived through Shatabdi at Kalka railway station. We are preventing overcrowding in the train.”
The toy train departs from Kalka Railway station at 12.10 pm. It reaches Shimla railway station at 5.20 pm. The arrival time of Kalka Shatabdi from Delhi at Kalka railway station is 11.45 am.
Divisional Railway Manager (DRM), Ambala, said, “All the coaches are sanitised after one-side journey. The rush will definitely increase in the coming days.”
Kalka-Shimla Himalayan Queen was resumed on October 21. Though it was resumed till November 31, it was extended till December 31 keeping in view the increasing rush and festival season.
The train has seven coaches with carrying capacity of at least 180 passengers. Railway officers maintain that there are certain days when the number of passengers reaches 115. Initially, the number was very low.
The 96-km-long Kalka-Shimla narrow gauge track is the UNESCO-protected site. There are 102 tunnels on the track between Kalka and Shimla. The toy train halts at 18 small stations en route to Shimla and vice-versa.
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