A unique railway experience
Still owned and run by the Indian Government, the Shivalik
Express has been wonderfully preserved and maintained.
Stepping aboard the Toy Train is akin to being transported
back to India's British Colonial era. By their nature narrow-gauge
trains are compact, but the Toy Train nevertheless offers Great
Rail Journeys' customers a enthralling ride. The route itself is
rarely less than spectacular. In the course of a journey lasting
between five and six hours, our guests are treated to ever-changing
vistas of sublime natural beauty, ranging from dense pine and
acacia forests, mountain valleys and snow-capped peaks to terraced
farmland and apple orchards.
These picture-postcard views are punctuated by the Kalka-Shimla
many turns, switchbacks, bridges and tunnels. The longest
tunnel, just before the railway station at the village of Barog,
spans more than a kilometre and at the time of its completion in
the late nineteenth century was the longest rail tunnel in the
world. Most passengers agree that beyond Barog the route's scenery
becomes even more spectacular as the Toy
steadily climbs its way through forests of Himalayan cedar
and rhododendron to the historic and culturally-rich hillside city
of Shimla, former summer capital of British India.