The hill stations of India have fascinated people from around the world since long. One such loved hill station of India is Shimla. Shimla, the capital of north Indian state of Himachal Pradesh was accorded the status of the summer capital of the British in India in the colonial era. Even today, the charm of Shimla binds many. And the best way to reach there is to catch a toy train from Kalka.
Toy Trains, as per their names, are much smaller in size than the usual trains. One of the toy trains that take a round trip on the Kalka Shimla track every day is the Shivalik Deluxe Express.
Luxuries On Board The Shivalik Deluxe Express
The Shivalik Deluxe Express was introduced on the lines of the Shatabdi Express. It is a 120 seater train with bay glass windows and wall to wall carpeting. There are reversible cushioned chairs for you to seat yourselves comfortably and tables to have your meals. Brilliant lighting and music playing in the background enhance your feeling of luxury. Couples, wishing a bit of privacy, have the option of booking a cabin for themselves.
The treatment offered on the Shivalik Deluxe Express is pampering. Breakfast is served while the train is moving from Kalka to Shimla and dinner is offered on the return journey. The charge for dinner is included in your ticket fare whereas the breakfast served is complimentary. The onboard train attendant is there to fulfill every little need of yours. There is a microphone through which you can communicate with the guard on the train as well.
The Magnetic Journey
The route from Kalka to Shimla covers a distance of 96 km. The Shivalik Deluxe Express commences its journey at 5. 30 am in the morning from Kalka, and within five minutes begins to climb the hill. Actually, throughout the journey, the train moves in an upward direction, traversing from 656 m above sea level to 2076m above sea level. It is because of this difficult upward movement of the train that its speed is restricted to 20 to 25 km per hour.
However, this is also advantageous in the sense that it allows you to soak in the surrounding beauty more and more, and at your pace. The beauty that passes through in succession throughout the journey seems straight out of a fairy tale. There are stunning valleys and small picturesque towns and villages. Moreover, the route also has 103 tunnels, 87 bridges, 900 curves and 20 railway stations. Out of 103 tunnels that the train crosses en route, only four are big ones – Barog, Koti, Tara Devi and Tunnel no 103. Also, the lovers of photography have a gala time clicking the great Himalayas and the beautiful oak forests.
Officially, the train has just one halt and that is at Barog. Here, you will be provided with food packets. Any extra requirement for breakfast can be made, but before the train reaches Barog Station.
In about 4. 75 hours, the train reaches the beautiful hill station of Shimla. The return journey of the train begins in the evening at 5.30 pm.
Shivalik Palace And Shivalik Queen
The Shivalik Palace exudes royalty. A tourist coach, it has elegant interiors with comfortable folding beds, cushioned chair, wall clock, dining table, dressing table, in brief, everything that you require to make your journey luxurious. There is also a well-equipped kitchen and a modern bathroom. With light music playing in the background, you can either enjoy reading a book or play a variety of indoor games to entertain yourself. To complete your idea of royalty, there is also an attendant provided for your journey.
The best part is that this tourist coach can be attached to any train on the Shimla Kalka route. This means that you can book this six seaters moving palace for your onward journey from Kalka to Shimla. On reaching Shimla, two retiring rooms are provided on a complimentary basis for one day stay at Shimla.
As for Shivalik Queen coach, it is specifically meant for the newlywed couple who wish to enjoy the beauty of nature and privacy simultaneously. The coupes have elegantly curtained big windows for you to enjoy the scenery outside. Like the Shivalik Deluxe, the Shivalik Queen too has wall to wall carpeting for generating a feeling of traveling in a luxurious environment. An alarm bell and a microphone keep you connected with the driver and guard respectively.