AS TOURISTS travelling on toy trains on UNESCO-protected 99-km-long Kalka-Shimla narrow gauge railway track are always eager to know more about the heritage site, the railway authorities are constructing a small museum at the Kalka railway station.
A British-era parcel cabin box counter, which was situated at the railway station, has been selected for keeping old items for visitors. Historical things which will be placed inside the cabin include old railway tickets of Kalka-Shimla train, old pictures of steam engine, and dresses worn by the railway employees in the British era.
ADRM (Railways), Ambala, Karan Singh, said, “In Shimla, we have Baba Bhalku Rail Museum near the railway station, which was inaugurated in 2011. Later, we realised the need for museum at Kalka railway station. The museum at Kalka railway station will be smaller in size than the museum at Shimla but it will definitely satisfy the curiosity of visitors, especially children. We have already exhibited heritage and old communication tools at Barog railway station. With the introduction of several attractions, including vistadom coaches, footfall at the railway station has increased, especially in summers. Children always show eagerness to know more about the track, engine and history of toy train.”
The authorities have also installed wooden benches in the traditional style near the parcel cabin-cum-counter for the visitors. Britishers made the Kalka-Shimla track between 1898 and 1904 for 93 km and later it was extended for further 3 km. In 2005, UNESCO declared the Kalka-Shimla track world heritage site.
Big paintings of steam engine chugging through tall pine, deodar trees from Kalka to Shimla were also displayed at the Kalka railway station for making it more attractive. Kalka station superintendent Gokul Singh says, “We want to promote tourism. Authorities decided to make the entire journey beginning from Kalka to Shimla enjoyable for passengers.”
The railway authorities are also in the process of developing a site for promoting heritage railway tracks, stations and other places in collaboration with Google.