Kalka-Simla Railway

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Kalka-Simla Railway
Gallery on the line near Dhorampur.jpg
Line of route
Kalka to Simla
Gauge / mileage
2' 6" NG 59 miles (1905)
1903 Opened to traffic
1905 Converted to 2' 6" gauge
1906 Taken over by GoI
Key locations
Presidency Bengal
Stations Kalka, Simla
System agency
1903 Own agency
after 1906 North Western Railway
How to interpret this infobox

The Kalka-Simla Railway (KSR) was a narrow gauge branchline, the final leg in the journey from Delhi via Umballa to the hill town of Simla, the summer retreat of the Viceroy and senior Government of India staff.


The Delhi-Umballa-Kalka Railway Company signed a contact in 1898 for the construction and working of a 2ft/610mm narrow gauge(NG) line from Kalka to Simla. The line was opened to traffic in 1903.

As a result of high capital cost and high maintenance cost the Delhi-Umballa-Kalka Railway Company was in 1904 in severe financial crisis. Following the decision of the Imperial General Staffs to standardise, wherever possible, on a 2ft 6in/762mm narrow gauge(NG), the track was so converted in 1905.

The KSR was taken over by the Government in January 1906 and later worked by the North Western Railway. [1]

The KSR remains one of the longest narrow gauge railway lines still operated by Indian Railways.


In 1908 the Kalka Railway Workshop at Kalka gave employment to 200 operatives [2].

Kalka was the terminal station of the broad gauge(BG)Delhi-Umballa-Kalka Railway(DUKR), where it connected to the 2ft 6in/762mm narrow gauge(NG) Kalka-Simla Railway KSR).

The workshop serviced the rolling stock of the KSR and probably the DUKR

Personnel Records

There are no Personnel Records held in the IOR

There are limited references in other documents:-


Refer to FIBIS Fact File #4: “Research sources for Indian Railways, 1845-1947” - available from the Fibis shop. This Fact File contains invaluable advice on 'Researching ancestors in the UK records of Indian Railways' with particular reference to the India Office Records (IOR) held at the British Library

An on-line search of the IOR records relating to this railway [4] gives 7 references. The most important being:-

  • L/F/8/15/1040 “Umballa Kalka Railway Company Limited, Contract for the construction of the Kalka-Simla Railway; 1898”
  • L/F/8/16/1167 “Delhi, Umballa, Kalka Railway Company Limited, Contract for the sale and purchase of the Kalka-Simla Railway; 1906”
  • L/F/8/16/1106 “Delhi Umalla Kalka Railway Company Limited, Contract for the advance of funds for the completion of the Kalka Simla Railway; 1903”
  • L/AG/46/9 “Records of the Delhi-Umballa-Kalka Railway Company; 1898-1907”


Some of the stations on the line, in order from Kalka to Simla.

Building the Railway

Attacks were an ever present threat to the builders of the Railway, who were trained in weaponry by an Instructor of Volunteers.[5]

External links