It is fair to say that were it not for the railways, the industrial revolution in Europe would not have caught on as it did. The Europeans would later take the railway transport to their colonies. One of the British colonies happened to be India. This is how the railway lines of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, Nilgiri Mountain Railway and Kalka Shimla Railway came to be

Mountain Railways of India
Mountain Railways of India

It is fair to say that were it not for the railways, the industrial revolution in Europe would not have caught on as it did. The Europeans would later take the railway transport to their colonies. One of the British colonies happened to be India. This is how the railway lines of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, Nilgiri Mountain Railway and Kalka Shimla Railway came to be. UNESCO listed the three sites in the World Heritage Sites for their profound influence in the development of India. Apparently, the three railways are a classic example of a transportation system that led to social economic development of multicultural regions.

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway

This railway consists of a 0.610 meter gauge track that stretches over a distance of 88.48 kilometers. It connects the Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling through Ghoom. The fact that makes this railway so spectacular is that it traverses the region on average altitude of 2258. The engineering masterpiece consists of 6 zigzag reverses and 3 loops over a gradient of 1:31.

It is as if the engineering genius who built this railway line wanted the people who travelled across the mountainous region to have as great a view as possible. Trust me; there is no better way to see the vast mountainous terrain than from the trains.

The Nilgiri Mountain Railway

The Nilgiri Mountain Railway stretches over a 45.88 kilometers stretch. The 1 meter gauge single-track railway line was first proposed in 1854 but the mountainous terrain delayed the work to 1891. The railway was completed in 1908. The railway traverses the region on an average altitude of 2203 meters on an elevation of 326 meters. It features the latest technology of its time by using unique rack and pinion traction arrangement to negotiate a steep gradient.

The Kalka Shimla Railway

Kalka Shimla Railway is a 96.6 kilometer stretch whose construction began in earnest in the mid-19th century. Its purpose was to service the highland town of Shimla as well as offer a transportation platform for the mountain people. During its heydays, it was the world’s highest multi-arc gallery besides from featuring the world’s longest tunnel.  The railway was an engineering brilliance incomparable to any work in its time.

If you get a chance, make sure you tour this railway stations with your camera in hand. There are so many sights to capture from the comfort of the train cabin.

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