Shimla has never failed to charm the tourists, especially during the winter season. To this, the Indian Railways on 18 December 2019 has added cherry on top by introducing the ‘Him Darshan Express’ tourist special train on the UNESCO Heritage Kalka-Shimla route. The train comprises 7 coaches including six first-class AC vista dome coaches and one first-class sitting cum luggage room coach. Earlier this year, the Railways has put only one see-through vistadome coach, but in view of the huge response from the travellers coming to explore Himachal Pradesh, the entire tourist train has vistadome coaches to offer travellers a panoramic view of the hills and surrounding villages.
Everything You Need to Know about Him Darshan Express
Him Darshan Express is the first train introduced by Indian Railways comprising all vistadome coaches to run on a regular basis and holds a capacity of over 100 passengers. The interiors of the coaches are tastefully decorated and offer the travellers an opportunity to be close to nature.
In regard to this, the Divisional Railway Manager, Gurinder Mohan Singh said that the initiative was taken keeping in mind the tourists. Each vistadome coach has 15 seats with five-window seats at both sides and the rest five will be aisle seats. Each coach has two air conditioners and is aesthetically designed with a glass roof, wider see-through windows. Not just this, but window roller blinds and honeycomb blinds for roof glass is also provided to avoid heavy light during the summer months. Adding to this, the interesting fact of the train is, the vistadome coaches are tastefully decorated with plush interiors and offer the travellers a chance to be close to nature.
What are the Amenities Provided in the Train?
According to sources, the seats in all the coaches are adjustable to enhance the overall travel experience of sightseeing from inside the train. The coaches are modernized and sufficiently equipped with things like modular type switches and sockets for LED lightings and charging, provision of lavatory and more.
The Fare and Train Departure Timings
The ticket price of Him Darshan Express is INR 630 per passenger (one way) irrespective of age. Tourists visiting Shimla can board the train from Kalka station at 7:00 am in the morning that will reach Shimla by 12:55 pm. In return, the train from Shimla departs at 3:50 pm and reaches Kalka by 9:15 pm. En-route the train stops at Barog station in both directions.
How to Make a Reservation?
You can book the tickets for Him Darshan Express via Passenger Reservation System (PRS). Besides, other online booking modes are also available.
History of Kalka-Shimla Railway
Right after the first Anglo-Gurkha war, Shimla, (earlier called as Simla) was established by the British. And it was in the year 1864, Shimla became the summer capital of the British Empire. Not just this, but the hill station even served as the British army’s headquarters. The only snag during that time was the connectivity to reach Shimla from Calcutta (now called Kolkata). The mode of transportation was horses and ox-drawn carts that traversed the mountain terrains that unsteady, dangerous and took a long-long amount of time.
So, it was in the year 1903 when Kalka-Shimla narrow gauge was started for easy and quick access to Shimla which was referred to as the ‘British Jewel of the Orient’ for easy and quick access to Shimla. The maiden toy train journey on the Kalka-Shimla was taken by the then Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon and since then, the train has been operating regularly and has become an iconic symbol of Shimla and one of the attractions of Himachal tourism cherished by both locals as well as tourists.
Later on, 11 September 2007, a UNESCO team visited the Kalka-Shimla railway for a week to inspect it for possible selection as a World Heritage Site. And then on 8 July 2008, it became part of the Mountain Railways of India World Heritage Site with the Nilgiri Mountain Railways and Darjeeling Himalayan.
Other Trains and Their Timings
There are other trains available for those looking for travelling on the Kalka-Shimla Railway route. The train booking can either be done at a railway station counter or via PRS.
From Kalka to Shimla
|Train Name ||Train No. ||Departure from Kalka ||Arrival at Shimla |
|The Rail Motor ||72451 ||5:25 am ||9:25 am |
|The Shivalik Deluxe Express ||52451 ||5:45 am ||10:35 am |
|The Himalayan Queen ||52455 ||12:10 pm ||5:20 pm |
From Shimla to Kalka
|Train Name ||Train No. ||Departure from Shimla ||Arrival at Kalka |
|The Rail Motor ||72452 ||5:25 pm ||9:35 pm |
|The Shivalik Deluxe Express ||52452 ||5:55 pm ||10:50 pm |
|The Himalayan Queen ||52456 ||10:40 am ||4:10 pm |