On last Sundayâ€™s BCMTouring meet, I told Shamik about my plan to visit Panchkula next month. He then asked me if I could drop him at Kalka so he could ride the toy train from Kalka to Shimla from where he would take a bus back to Delhi.
A joy ride in the toy train, hmmâ€¦ that is some thing that I had been thinking of for quite some time. Instantaneously it struck me that I should probably do the same thing, but with a twist. But before I tell you about the twist, here is a little background on what is so important about the Kalka – Shimla train journey:
Kalka – Shimla rail line is 96 kms of Meter Gauge rail track and the small trains which run on this track (lovingly called toy trains) take around 6 Hrs to cover 96kms journey and reach Shimla. There are 103 tunnels on the route with the longest being 1.2 K.M. long, the track also crosses over 864 bridges to reach its final destination, Shimla.
Accompanying the train throughout this journey is some of the most beautiful Himalayan vistas and the fact this route was constructed 105 years ago (construction completed in 1903), makes it a memorable and historical journey.
Some thing which I believe I have to do at least once in my lifetime and the trip to Panchkula has presented me with the perfect opportunity, except of one little hiccup.
Due to a personal reason, I can not do a two day trip i.e. I have to ride from Delhi to Panchkula on my motorcycle, visit the temple there and then ride to Kalka, take the toy train from Kalka to Shimla and then take a bus or taxi back to Kalka and pickup my motorcycle and ride back to Delhi!
This would mean I would have to ride for approximately 620kms on my motorcycle, visit a temple, undertake 6 hour long train journey and then undertake 3-4 hour long bus journey, all in less than 24hours!