A special seven-coach toy train run by Indian Railways on the Shimla-Kalka heritage line brought an NDA exam candidate and his father as its only passengers to the Himachal Pradesh capital Sunday morning.
Anurag Sharma boarded the toy train along with his father at Solan at 4.30 am and arrived in Shimla, around 45 km away, at 7.10 am to appear for the National Defence Academy and Naval Academy Examination (I) and (II), conducted by the Union Public Service Commission.
Services on the Shimla-Kalka rail line were suspended in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The special train was run on instructions from the Centre for the benefit of candidates, a railway official said.
“There were no other passengers on the train, presumably because it takes less time to travel from Solan to Shimla in a bus or a car,” said the official. It usually takes 1.5 to 2 hours to travel between the two towns via road, while the train takes more time due to difficulty of the terrain.
Chief Commercial Inspector A S Thakur said the train ran with seven coaches, and the down train to Solan, which left Shimla at 6.30 pm, had no passengers.
The Kalka Shimla Railway, part of the Mountain Railways of India, was included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2008. The 96 km-long railway line from Kalka in Haryana to Shimla passes through 102 tunnels, 988 bridges and 917 curves, some of which are as sharp as 48 degrees, according to the Indian Railways. The longest tunnel near Barog is 1,143 metres long.
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