Though tracks span the length and breadth of the subcontinent, no part of the system is more impressive than the three mountain railways grouped as a single World Heritage site: the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway, and the Kalka Shimla Railway.
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
Opened in 1881, the small-gauge Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is often called the "Toy Train" for its diminutive size, its design applies bold and ingenious engineering solutions to the problem of establishing an effective rail link across a mountainous terrain of great beauty. This train covers a distance of 88 km from Siliguri to Darjeeling in West Bengal, run by the Indian railways.
The route has 8 major bridges, 542 minor bridges, and 177 unmanned level crossings. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, which received the World Heritage Site status on Dec. 2, 1999, has the narrowest of the regular narrow gauges.
The Nilgiri Mountain Railway
The Nilgiri Mountain Railway is a 46-km-long railway track in the mountainous terrain of the state of Tamil Nadu. this single- track railway was first proposed in 1854, but due to the difficulty of the mountainous location the work only started in 1891 and was completed in 1908.
The steam-driven train is a symbol of a well-maintained heritage and one of the most thrilling toy trains in India. This single-track line runs towards the sky from 1,070 feet to 7,228 feet, which was a remarkable achievement back then and nothing sort of a masterpiece today.
The train takes you through rocky terrain, gorgeous ravines, lush tea estates, and thick forests, and ends in the spectacular Ooty. In July 2005, UNESCO designated it as a World Heritage Site. It is owned by the Southern Railway Zone and operated by the Salem railway division.
The Kalka Shimla Railway
The Nilgiri Mountain railway stands as one of the oldest mountain railways in India. A 96.6 kilometer long, single track working rail link built in the mid-19th century to provide a service to the highland town of Shimla is emblematic of the technical and material efforts to disenclave mountain populations through the railway.
In July 2005, UNESCO added the NMR as an extension to the World Heritage Site of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway after it satisfied the necessary criteria, thus forcing an abandonment of modernization plans.
These railways are outstanding examples of innovative transportation systems built through difficult terrain, which had great influence on the social and economic development of their respective regions. With 15 minutes only, you will succeed in applying for an Indian eVisa and ready for the trip to check out these mountain railways.
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