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Articles: Travelogue
Victorian Rail Car
- Prof. venkata ramanamurty mallajosyula
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Though Shimla may have lost some of its splendor and glory of ’British Raj’, yet thousands of tourists flock to Shimla year after year. In fact the beauty of Shimla starts right from the foot hills of Kalka. From Kalka there are three means to reach Shimla, the erstwhile summer capital of British Raj. First is, to proceed by the serpentine road either by Bus, Taxi or Private Car. Second is to travel by train, either by luxurious train-“The Shatabdi Express” which has been started by the Indian Railway. Third and most exciting is to travel by Rail Car. The Rail Car has been designed and manufactured and was commissioned during the Viceroy’s regime by the Britishers. It was used to convey the Viceroy and his entourage from Kalka to Shimla when the British Capital shifted .to Shimla in summers. The seating capacity of the Rail Car is 19 excluding the lone driver. There are three Rail Cars in all and stationed at Kalka railway station. The rail Car moves on narrow gauge rail track used by other trains as well. The distance of about 90 kms between Kalka and Shimla, which passes through a staggering 102 tunnels is covered by the rail car in about 4 hours with a solitary stop of 15 minutes at Broach railway station. It moves exactly like a train and has a single driver without any guard or conductor. The 150 Bhp engine of car is driven by petrol and the fuel capacity of the tank is 100 liters which is sufficient to make one trip to Shimla and back. This car has an automatic steering system hand breaks accelerator are operated manually by the driver. Huge glass windows and its fiber glass ceiling makes the passenger not only comfortable but also avoids mountain journey sickness as it is almost like sitting in an open car. The big windows afford a majestic view of the pine trees throughout the entire journey. The plush seats with cushioned high backrest make you feel like a viceroy in the making and of course avoids any sort of fatigue right till you reach your destination. Another amusing part of its movement is its system of signaling. This rail car moving at a speed of approx 25 kmph (max speed 30 kmph) does not stop at the railway station enroot except at midway Broach. As the car approaches a railway station the driver throws a special type of ring there by indicating that every thing is alright till now. While on the move, this luxury bus shaped like railcar affords a breath of the engine against the back drop of SHIVOLIK range and is also the fastest mode of conveyance to reach the beautiful tourist hill station of Shimla. The tourists are well advised to take this dream journey by rail car at the earliest opportunity as we understand that these three sleek blue and white colored beauties are on the way of being phased out after realizing the dreams of many a tourists whether they were young, old, children and even infants and always make you cherish that “Old is Gold.”

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