Himachal Governor launches Shimla-Kalka rail track cleanliness

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Shimla, May 12 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh Governor Acharya Devvrat on Saturday launched a cleanliness and conservation drive from here of the Kalka-Shimla rail line.

The century-old rail line is a 96-km narrow gauge railroad built to ferry Europeans to and from this hill town — then the summer capital of British India.

High Court acting Chief Justice Sanjay Karol accompanied Devvrat and jointly launched the inaugural drive of the Unesco World Heritage site by removing trash.

The Himachal Pradesh State Legal Services Authority organised the campaign that saw participation of High Court and lower court judges, officers of state and central governments and some 10,000 school students.

District and Sessions Judge Prem Pal Ranta said this was the first-of-its-kind drive on this scale that was simultaneously carried out across 43 segments identified along the track from Shimla to Kalka town.

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This drive would be followed by constant maintenance and forestation that would be conducted by Himachal ‘Eco-Warriors’ of the Territorial Army.

Impact assessments and a follow-up are also planned following this initial measure, he added.

The Kalka-Shimla railway track was opened on November 9, 1903 to traffic as a link from the Delhi-Ambala-Kalka branch of the East Indian Railway.

Initially, there were 107 tunnels. In 1930, as some of them were defunct, they were renumbered to 103.

There are 800 bridges and 900 curves. All the tunnels were built between 1900 and 1903. The longest one is at Barog and is over a kilometre long.

The bridges along the track resemble Roman aqueducts and the longest arch viaduct has an aggregate length of 2.8 kilometers.

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In 2008, in recognition of its heritage value and authenticity as a historic track, the Kalka-Shimla railway track was inscribed by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation as a World Heritage Site.

–IANS

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