In an effort to conserve heritage, Indian Railways is planning to bring steam engines back in its mountain railway routes of Kalka-Shimla, Darjeeling-Siliguri and Matheran. Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani in his recent interview said, “The mountain lines where trains are pulled by diesel engines will instead have steam engines.” He further added, “We will try to keep the ticket prices of these special trains as economical as possible.”
Kalka-Shimla Railway Line
The 96-km long Kalka-Shimla Railway line in Himachal Pradesh is a UNESCO World Heritage site. On 8th July 2008, UNESCO added the Kalka–Shimla Railway as an extension to the World Heritage Site of Mountain Railways of India. The route is well-known for offering dramatic views of the hills and the surrounding villages.
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Line
The 130-year old Darjeeling Himalayan Railway line became the first UNESCO World Heritage line of the transporter in the year 1999. This 88-km line connects Siliguri with Darjeeling and Ghum and is popularly referred to as Toy Train.
Matheran Hill Railway
Matheran Hill Railway is a 2-feet narrow gauge heritage railway in Maharashtra. This railway line, covering a distance of 21 km, is undergoing restoration following two derailments last year. As per the officials, steam engines will be launched soon after the restoration work finishes.