Tue. May 21st, 2024

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Shimla landslide: A section of the toy train is now hanging after the earth was swept from under it

Summer Hill, Shimla:

At Shimla’s Summer Hill, a section of railway tracks hangs in the air after the earth under it was swept away during the deluge in Himachal Pradesh over the past few days.

These tracks are not from just another section in the country’s vast railway network, but one that has shaped childhood memories for many. This is the toy train line between Kalka and Shimla, a UNESCO World Heritage attraction.

For those boarding the train, the 96-km journey would start at Kalka and the train would gradually climb towards Shimla, passing through scenic hills and woods. The journey would take nearly five hours, as the train would ramble through the picturesque landscape, giving tourists ample time to enjoy their retreat from the rush of metropolises.

The aftermath of this calamity has now silenced the clickety-clack of the toy train’s wheels on the century-old tracks. According to railway officials, repair work on the tracks would take nearly a month and about Rs 15 crore in funds.

Standing beside the hanging tracks, one can see the disaster response teams at work at the site of a temple that collapsed during the rain fury. At least 13 bodies have been recovered so far. The state government has said people had gathered at the temple in large numbers for Saawan prayers when disaster struck.

Rain-related incidents in Himachal have claimed more than 60 lives so far. Chief Minister Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu has said the state has suffered a loss of nearly Rs 10,000 crore and it would take at least a year to rebuild the damaged areas. 

The National Disaster Response Force is at work at several areas in the state. The Air Force, too, is conducting rescue sorties and moving stranded citizens to safety.

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