Kalka-Shimla heritage route train passenger count down 90%

Amarjot Kaur

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 19

The number of passengers travelling in trains plying on the Kalka-Shimla heritage route has dipped by 90.2 per cent in financial year 2020-21.

According to the data provided by the Ambala Division of the Northern Railway, the passenger count stood at 7.9 lakh in financial year 2019-20. It fell to 77,422 in 2020-21. Over the past four years, the highest passenger count on this heritage track was in 2018-19, which was recorded at 8.15 lakh. In 2017-18, the figure was 7.04 lakh.

The massive fall in the number of passengers is primarily because of the pandemic as six trains plying over the division remained suspended most of the year.

Of the six trains plying over the heritage route, Vistadome coach (train number 04529 and 04530) was the first pair to have restored operations in February 2021. Subsequently, four more pairs, including Vistadome and Kalka-Shimla (Shimla Kalka) Mail Express resumed the track in June, while the Kalka-Shimla (and Shimla-Kalka) mail express 04543 and 04544, running as unreserved train, became operational in August.

Non-scheduled trains (up-down mix trains) running between Kalka and Shimla are being used as workmen train, while holiday special (train number 52443 and 52444) is not operational.

The dip in passengers had a cascading effect in the passenger earnings, which fell from Rs8.3 crore in 2018-19 to Rs1.6 crore in 2020-21.

Courtesy: Tribune News Service

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