Mountain Railways of India

Mountain Railways of India

Mountain railways of India are the six or seven odd “chhotey” (Hindi for small) lines, out of around 20 similar such narrow or metre gauge remaining in operation around the world. Built during the nineteenth and early twentieth century of British colonial rule (the Raj), these lines have been running since then. Today the Indian Railways runs them, along with the Kashmir Railway, operational since 2005. While four of these seven: the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (1881), the Kalka–Shimla Railway (1898), the Kangra Valley Railway (1924), and the Kashmir Railway (2005), are in the rugged hill regions of the Himalayas of Northern India, two are further down south in the Western Ghats: the Nilgiri Mountain Railway in Tamil Nadu, and the Matheran Hill Railway in Maharashtra; while the Lumding–Silchar line, built at the turn of the 20th century, lies deep inside Assam, in the Barak river valley of the Cachar Hills. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway and the Kalka–Shimla Railway have collectively been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

These lines connect important hill resorts with the foot hills, winding their way up through rugged yet scenic mountainous landscape. Given the terrain they were constructed on during the British colonial period, they were considered “outstanding examples of the interchange of values on developments in technology” and engineering marvels.

Outline
Mountain railways of India are the six or seven odd "chhotey" (Hindi for small) lines, out of around 20 similar such narrow or metre gauge remaining in operation around the world.

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