Indian Railways on Mountains: An engineering pinnacle in the abode of nature!

May 23, 2013

Originally built during the British rule in India between nineteenth and twentieth centuries, these railways on mountains are now run and managed by Indian Railways – one of the largest railway networks in the world.

The History:


Indian Railway on MountainsThe roots of these fabulous mountain railways in India were roped during the British rule. In the year of 1844, the then British Viceroy of India, Sir John Lawrence came up with the idea of establishing a railway network in the hills of the Himalayas to make a better and easier route for the British troops that were stationed in these hill areas.

The British officers termed it as the Hill Railways in their proposal to establish a rail network among the hill areas of the Himalays, Shimla, Darjeeling, Nilgiri, Kangara Valley and Matheran.

Indian Railways on Mountains:


With a rich heritage of scenic mountains and an engineering excel in its railway system, India is one of those very few countries to achieve engineering pinnacle in the abode of nature. There are seven railways on mountains in India. They are:

  1. Kashmir Railway Line
  2. Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Line
  3. Kalka-Shimla Railwa Line
  4. Kangra Valley Railway Line
  5. Nilgiri Mountain Railway Line
  6. Matheran Hill Railway Line
  7. Lumding-Silchar Railway Line

Among these mountain railway lines, the Kashmir railway line is operational since 2005 while the Darjeeling Himalayan railway line, the Kalka-Shimla railway line and the Kangra Valley railway line are in the hill regions of the Himalayas in northern India. While the Nilgiri  railway line is in southern India and the Matheran Hill railway line is in the western India. The other railway line Lumding-Silchar railway line is deep inside Assam, in the Barak river valley of the Cachar hills.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site designation


Indian Railway on Mountains

Three of these seven mountain railway lines - The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway and the Kalka–Shimla Railway have collectively been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site! UNESCO has widely and openly applauded the mountain railways of India saying “The two Mountain Railways of India on the World Heritage List are outstanding examples of the interchange of values on developments in technology, and the impact of innovative transportation system on the social and economic development of a multicultural region, which was to serve as a model for similar developments in many parts of the world.

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