Northern Railway has said that they have no plans to shut historic Rail Motor Car service on Kalka-Shimla narrow gauge railway track as reported in a section of media. Terming the reports as ‘rumour’ , railway authorities said that efforts are being made to improve the Rail Motor Cars and to make them more comfortable.
“It is a plain rumour that we are shutting down the historic Rail Motor Car service . Three Rail Motor Cars are off the track for repainr and one is still running on the track . Efforts are being made to put the remaining three cars on the track within a couple of months,” R.K.Tayal, Senior Divisional Mechanical Engineer, Loco , Northern Railway’s Ambala division said.
Northern Railway’s Ambala Division which manages Rail Motor Car service on Kalka-Shimla narrow gauge railway track said that there is shortage of key spare parts and tyres of Rail Motor Cars . The division was in search of a spare part supplier and has finally roped in a firm has to supply the cast iron tyres for the Rail Motor Car.
“The good news is that we have managed the tyres .We are rennovating the three grounded Rail Motor Cars .Efforts are being to make these historical marvels more comfortable and safe. ,” R.K.Tayal, said.
The Deluxe Rail Motor Car is a visual delight as it resembles a bus of the Second World War vintage. Carrying 14 passengers at a time, it takes four hours and 25 minutes to reach Shimla from Kalka . One single fare of this journey is priced just at just Rs 247. When the other three Rail Motor Cars were on the track , Norther Railway also provided the facility to book the whole car.
. The car is fitted with a transparent fibre-glass roof, for a clear view of the sky and if one is lucky, one can look up at the rain or snow without getting soaked. Digital time-cum-temperature display unit, altimeter and route indication board gives valuable information while travelling.
It is worth mentioning here that these Rail Motor Cars were manufactured between 1927 and 1930 and they are being plied on the toy train track from last 85 years. The rail cars including the toy train spare parts manufacturers have stopped manufacturing the ‘outdated’ parts and have moved to other avocations. Engine and other mechanical failures are common on Kalka Shimla railway track which on July 7, 2008 was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List .
The Rail Motor Car wheels (steel tyres) are made of special cast steel and they are being replaced first time after a period of 85 years by Norther Railway (Ambala division).
Northern Railway runs 10 toy trains ( narrow gauge) trains on Kalka-Shimla track. Though incurring huge financial losses, Northern Railway continues to ply trains on this loss making heritage track.