As many as two trains have been suspended on the UNESCO world heritage Kalka-Shimla track by the railway authorities. The trains have been suspended to carry out the maintenance work on the track.
Talking to The Tribune, Senior Divisional Commercial Manager (DCM) Naveen Kumar, Ambala division of the Railways, said, "The recent flashfloods in the state had caused substantial damage to the heritage track at several places. We have got all major repair work done on the track and restored it for plying of trains. But some work is still left as part of maintenance of the track. So, we have suspended these trains."
On being asked as to for how long the services of these trains would remain suspended, Naveen said, "It depends on how much time all these works would take but roughly it would take close to two months. After that, inspection would be done to decide on whether to resume or complete the maintenance work."
Meanwhile, sources said that timing of these trains was crucial when it comes to convenience of passengers or tourists travelling towards Delhi. Discontinuing them for a long time would affect tourism, especially when tourist inflow has seen substantial increase after the recent rain disaster.
"The train service between Kalka and Shimla is not only a cheaper mode of transportation but also attracts a number of tourists as they get to enjoy scenic natural beauty of hill state while travelling. So, the Railways must resume service of these trains as soon as possible or at least change the timings keeping in view the convenience of tourists/passengers," added sources. Before the rain disaster, seven trains were plying on the heritage track.
Railways to carry out repair work
The railway authorities would carry out the maintenance work during 'day-time margins' between the schedule of trains. The maintenance work to be carried out concerns embankments, ballast work on the track, alignment shifting repair, work on blocked drainage system, bridge strengthening and carrying material where required, among other works.