Northern Railways floats tenders of 6.15 crore to repair Kalka-Shimla heritage track

The Kalka-Shimla railway line, a world heritage site, needs major repairs after being damaged by heavy rain and landslides earlier this month. The northern railways have put out bids for the work totaling Rs 6.15 crore.

In order to perform urgent repairs on the railway track and the surrounding infrastructure, the route has been closed until August 6. The railways’ solicitations for bids call for precise repairs to be conducted in order to rectify the harm done by rain, hill/landslides, and trees falling across the tracks.

Slope protection and landslip monitoring systems, tunnel grouting, bridge restoration, and replacement of retaining walls are a few of the projects that must be finished in accordance with the tenders. The tenders must be submitted by August 10; once chosen, the project should be finished in 45 days.

The 96 km long, narrow gauge, single-track Kalka-Shimla Railway was constructed in the middle of the 19th century to serve the town of Shimla. Himachal Pradesh and Haryana are on the railroad’s path. Midway through the 19th century, plans were made to build it in order to serve Shimla, which at the time served as the colonial government’s summer residence and is located at an elevation of more than 2,000 metres.

Two-thirds of the entire length of the line is located in a mountainous area, making construction exceptionally challenging. It took extensive engineering design work to complete the project, which was finally finished between 1899 and 1903. The fact that this railway boasts the tallest multi-arc gallery bridge and the longest tunnel in the world (at the time of construction) is a testament to the excellent engineering capabilities of the day.

Geographically, three districts of the two states are traversed by the route. Section 1 of the Panchkula district of Haryana runs from Kalka station to just before Taksal (km 3.7). Section 2 in Himachal Pradesh’s Solan district runs from Taksal to a location not far from Kathlee Ghat (km 74.2). Section 3 runs from Kathlee Ghat in the Himachal Pradesh district of Shimla to the station at Shimla, which marks the end of the route (km 96.6).

It extends the standard gauge Indian railway network towards the Himalayan mountains from the town of Kalka, which is located at a height of 656 meters.

The line then ascends to an intermediate plateau at an elevation of about 1500 m, where it provides service to a number of stations, before climbing to the terminus town of Shimla, the state capital of Himachal Pradesh, at a height of 2,075 m.

988 bridges and viaducts, or 3% of the line’s total length, are extant. The largest bridges contain masonry galleries with several arches (74), some of which have multiple stories, just like Roman aqueducts. 917 bends make up around 70% of the length of the line. Most of these lines have severe curves that extend through tunnels and bridges.

At first, the railroad had 107 tunnels. This number has decreased to 102 as a result of landslides. 8% of the length of the line is made up of the tunnels’ total length. Senior railway officials should be informed that many masonry retaining walls require repair due to rain damage.

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