Indian Hill Railways

Recently I had lunch with a co-worker who was born and raised in India. We talked about her home state, Indian food, and then on to tea. From tea we took a side step to the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, a favorite two foot railway of mine. My friend asked me had I ever read or seen photographs of the Nilgiri Mountain Railway or of the Shimla Railway. I had heard of the Nilgiri, but never of the Shimla, and I have never really seen many photographs or read anything about the history of either line. I did discover that BBC had a series titled “Indian Hill Railways”, but I could not watch it on their site.

However, I did find several video on YouTube on each of the Indian Hill Railways. Enjoy if you watch them, they are stories of the railway, the people who work on them, and the people and towns that use each of the railways. They are about an hour-long each.

Nilgiri Mountain Railway. I had not idea that it was a partial cog railway. Very interesting bridge construction as well. The scenery is unbelievable, and instead of cows on the track one has to beware of elephants!

Kalka-Shimla Railway. This one is new to me. The station and the town of Shimla is amazing. A piece of England in India.

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. Ever since I read about this railway in Narrow Gauge and Short Line Gazette I have been fascinated by its use of loops and switchbacks to gain elevation, it route through towns right at store fronts, and the B class locomotives. I have never seen a crew of 4-5 on such a small locomotive. Certainly an imagineering project for the future!


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