Niti Aayog, as part of its plan to monetise public sector assets, proposes to provide the Kalka-Shimla railway track to a private concessionaire for a period of 30-50 years. The plan for the 118-year-old railway track — a UNESCO World Heritage Site has been prepared in Niti Aayog’s report ‘Volume II: Asset Pipeline’. The concessionaire will be responsible for operation, maintenance and development of the railway track.
The report has a similar plan for the remaining mountain rail tracks of India, which are World Heritage Sites — Darjeeling Himalayan Railway and the Nilgiri Mountain Railways . The proposal, however, has a word of caution for interested parties and has said they will also be responsible for preserving the heritage status of the tracks. The Mountain railways of India are the narrow-gauge railway lines, with 5 high altitude railway stations located at higher than 2,000 m and more than 10 station higher than 1,000 m.
All these provided much needed connectivity to erstwhile underserved areas. These locations are domestic tourism hubs with a heritage-based appeal to these railways. Each one of them is well networked with all weather roads. The partnership will optimise government infrastructure and private spirit of enterprise contributing to safer and premier toy train experience in the mountain valleys of India.