East Indian Railway Mail leaving Kalka Station circa 1906
|Service type||Super fast mail train|
|Distance travelled||1,713 kilometres (1,064 mi)|
|Catering facilities||Pantry car and catering available|
|Track gauge||1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in)|
Source: Google and 12312 Kalka Mail
Kalka Mail is the name of a train in India connecting Howrah near Calcutta in the eastern state of West Bengal to Kalka, Haryana, the railhead for Kalka-Shimla Railway. This connects it to Shimla, the hill station capital of Himachal Pradesh and one-time summer capital of India.
Kalka Mail at present is among the longest trains running in the country, it has a total of 24 coaches (12 Sleeper, 2 SLR, 4 General, 1 First A/C, 2 3Tier A/C, 3 2Tier A/C) and has total 4 rakes. One A/C 3 tier coach gets attached in Mugalsarai to the train from train and its detached at Mugalsarai on the return journey. This train is categorised as super-fast and runs at a maximum speed of 110 km/hrs. The engine attached to this train is the modern 6350 HP, WAP-7 based in Ghaziabad. In between Howrah and Kalka the train stops at 37 Stations. Passengers boarding the train have to abide by distance restriction: the minimum travel distance is 160 km in all AC classes and 480 km in Sleeper and 2S. However, it carries all passengers on the Delhi-Kalka route.
The train leaves Howrah at 19:40 hrs and arrives at Kalka after two nights at 04:30 hrs. It leaves Kalka at 23:55 hrs and arrives at Howrah after two nights at 07:55 hrs. The journey takes 32 hrs 50 mins for the Howrah-Kalka journey but takes 32 hrs for the Kalka-Howrah journey.
Run by the East Indian Railway Company, the train (originally numbered 1 Up / 2 Dn) began operation between Calcutta and Delhi in 1866 as the "East Indian Railway Mail". It's run was extended from Delhi to Kalka in 1891. The train was the principal mechanism by which British civil servants moved to their summer capital in Simla from Calcutta with the entire government machinery traveling on the train at the start of the summer months and returning by it at the end of summer. Both stations, Howrah as well as Kalka, had internal carriageways running along the platform so that the Viceroy and other high-ranking officers could drive right up to their rail coaches. The carriageway at Howrah is still used and runs between Platforms 8 and 9 but the carriageway at Kalka has been converted into platform. With the rationalization of train numbering in the 1990s, the Kalka Mail lost its 1 Up /2 Dn numbering and is now the 12311 from Howrah and the 12312 from Kalka.
In popular culture
Kalka Mail is featured in a short story by Satyajit Ray, the Indian film director and writer. In the story, The Mystery of the Kalka Mail, the three main characters travel from Calcutta to Delhi and on to Kalka on the train. The plot involves a stolen diamond and an unpublished manuscript. The story was also made into a radio play.
Accidents and Incidents
13 coaches of the Kalka Mail derailed on the Kanpur-Fatehpur line near the Fatehpur railway station on the afternoon of 10 July 2011. The cause is unknown though poor maintenance of the locomotive is suspected because the engine had begun swaying sideways just before the accident. More than 69 persons died and 200 were injured. The injured were taken to hospitals in Kanpur, Lucknow and Allahabad.
- "12312 Kalka Mail". indiarailinfo.com. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
- "Train tales from a bygone era". The Tribune, 20 April 2002. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
- "The Feluda Films of Satyajit Ray". h2g2. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
- indianexpress.com (July 12, 2011). "Toll climbs to 70, 300 injured". Retrieved 28 January 2014.
- "Kalka Train Accident by OneIndia". OneIndia. Retrieved 28 January 2014.