10 trains cancelled on Kalka-Shimla track

Only one train to ply l Decision taken due to low occupancy amid pandemic

10 trains cancelled on Kalka-Shimla track

A view of the deserted railway station in Shimla on Monday. Photo: Amit Kanwar

Ambika Sharma

Tribune News Service

Solan, May 10

Reeling under low occupancy due to Covid, only one train will be plying on the UNESCO’s World Heritage Kalka-Shimla rail track now, while 10 others have been cancelled since yesterday.

Rail officials said initially two trains were cancelled, but seeing the low occupancy, operations of all trains except Kalka-Shimla Express, which takes off from Kalka at 6.20 am and reaches Shimla at 11.35 am, have been suspended since May 9.

Among the trains that have been cancelled include Kalka-Shimla rail motor special, which covers a distance of 96 km in approximately 4.25 hours.

Train journey is specially preferred by tourists who are enchanted by the picturesque panoramic view of the hills.

Kalka-Shimla Express to continue service

  • Rail officials say seeing the low occupancy, operations of all trains except Kalka-Shimla Express, which takes off from Kalka at 6.20 am and reaches Shimla at 11.35 am, have been suspended since May 9
  • Among the trains that have been cancelled include Kalka-Shimla rail motor special, which covers a distance of 96 km in approximately 4.25 hours

Tourists from Gujarat, West Bengal and those from South India as well as foreigners often travel on this track.

Rail traffic was suspended last year too in March during the first wave of the Covid pandemic. It had resumed gradually from October with online bookings having been introduced initially.

Trains had started registering usual occupancy later, but when the second wave of the pandemic struck the country, the occupancy dipped again and the Railways started incurring losses in keeping all trains operational, said an official.

The Vistadome coach, which provides a picturesque view to the commuters through its see-through glass roof, had resumed last year in December after nine months. Though the trip to Shimla had witnessed less than 10 passengers in its maiden trip, business had picked up later.

The 2 ft, 6-inch narrow-gauge rail track was opened in 1903 during the British era. It has 103 tunnels and 969 bridges and the train traverses through a panoramic view of the hills during its journey to Shimla.

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