Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, July 12
Declared a heritage site by UNESCO, the Kalka-Shimla toy train enjoys a special place in the hearts of city folks. During the summer and winter vacation, it becomes the choicest means of transport to Shimla for city people. However, the train will not be operational this summer because of the extended halt on regular trains till August 12 in view of the pandemic.
In 2018, the Ambala Division of the Northern Railways had introduced the vistadome coach to the toy train, considering the growing influx of tourists from across the country and abroad.
“I have been taking my family to Shimla on the toy train for a couple of years now,” says Manpreet Singh, who works in a private bank here. “This year, though the summer vacation is still on, we are confined to our homes. The children look forward to our annual trip in the toy train. My 6-six-year old daughter loves the tunnel. We are missing it already,” he says.
Supriya Vaishishta, an educator and a mother to twin daughters, gets her 13-year-old to recount her memory of the train. “I got mum to book the tickets this year, but she had to refund it,” says Mannat, a student at Sacred Heart Senior Secondary School, Sector 26. She adds: “The pandemic has kept us from our plans.”
Divisional Railway Manager GM Singh is aware of the train’s popularity. “We run five pairs of trains on the Kalka-Shimla route. During the peak season, we would even run six pairs because of the rush. Now, we aren’t running it at least till August 12, as per the orders,” he said.
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