12 Sep 2007, 0001 hrs IST, Kounteya Sinha, TNN
NEW DELHI: The fate of the 104-year-old Shimla toy train as a future UNESCO world heritage site is at present being examined by a team of experts in Shimla.
The two-member team is headed by Robert Lee from the University of Western Sydney. Lee is part of the International Council on Monuments and Sites. The team arrived in the Himachal capital for a five-day visit on Tuesday to study the 96-km track, considered the greatest narrow gauge engineering feat in the country, that passes through 103 tunnels.
The team will submit its assessment report to UNESCO in October. The final decision on whether to declare the Kalka-Shimla Railway (KSR) as a world heritage property will be taken at the next UNESCO general assembly to be held in Quebec, Canada, in July 2008.
"Besides the railway track, tunnels, bridges and railway stations, we are minutely studying all the relics along the railway track," Lee said. TOI had first reported that the 104-year-old KSR was India's official entry for inscription as a world heritage property for the year 2008.
During its stay, the team will inspect the rail stretch, take a helicopter ride to see the winding and picturesque terrain through which it passes and get a feel of the local communities who reside by it.
The train starts its 96-km journey from Kalka and runs through 103 tunnels, 20 stations and over 900 bridges before reaching Shimla.
Times of India