Shimla Toy Train

Taking a trip on the historic UNESCO World Heritage Kalka-Shimla toy train is like traveling back in time. The railway, built by the British in 1903 to provide access to their summer capital of Shimla, provides one of the most scenic train journeys in India.

It enlivens passengers as it gradually winds its way steeply upwards along the narrow track, though mystical mountains and pine forests.

Kalka and Shimla are located just north of Chandigarh, in India’s mountainous northern state of Himachal Pradesh. The captivating train route connects both places. It runs for 96 kilometers (60 miles) though 20 railway stations, 102 tunnels, 800 bridges, and an incredible 900 curves.

The longest tunnel, which stretches for more than a kilometer, is near the main railway station at Barog. The most spectacular scenery occurs from Barog to Shimla. The train’s speed is greatly restricted by the steep gradient that it has to climb, but this allows for plenty of fascinating sightseeing along the way.

Train services

Shivalik Deluxe Express — a premium express train with carpet, wide glass windows that open, cushioned seats, and relaxing music. It fits 120 passengers. Food is provided. There are no stops along the way.

Himalayan Queen — a standard train service. Food isn’t provided but can be purchased at the 10 or so stations that it stops at along the way. Owing to the number of stops, this train is the most suitable for those who like to get out and explore. You’ll be able to take plenty of photos.

Rail Motor Car — uniquely resembles a bus from the time of the Second World War. It’s got a transparent roof, and fits only 14 passengers. It’s also an express service, with food provided. There is one stop, at Barog.