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Committee Decisions

32 COM 8B.28

Examination of nomination of natural, mixed and cultural proprerties to the World Heritage List - Kalka Shimla Railway, Extension of Mountain Railways of India (INDIA)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Documents WHC-08/32.COM/8B and WHC-08/32.COM/INF.8B1,

2. Approves the extension of the Mountain Railways of India, India, to include the Kalka Shimla Railway on the World Heritage List on the basis of criteria (ii) and (iv);

3. Adopts the following Statement of Outstanding Universal Value:

The Kalka Shimla Railway represents an exceptional technical achievement in the development of the Himalayan mountains because of its length, its altitude and the difficulty of the terrain through which it runs in difficult tropical climatic conditions.  The Kalka Shimla Railway was designed under British colonial rule, as Shimla was the government's summer capital. Furthermore, the Indian population quickly made use of the railway to settle in the mountains and set up enduring human communities. The effectiveness of rail transport, which considerably reduced the duration and difficulty of travel, was an essential factor in this social and cultural development. The Kalka Shimla Railway has seen its traction regularly upgraded, in a spirit of use in keeping with its origins, while its infrastructures have been maintained in very good condition, by ongoing maintenance and repair work, which has been both exemplary and in line with the railway's authenticity.

Criterion (ii): The Kalka Shimla Railway exhibits an important cultural and technology transfer in the colonial setting of the period of its construction, particularly with regard to the eminently political function of the terminus station, Shimla. The railway then enabled significant and enduring human settlement, of which it has remained the main vector up to the present day.

Criterion (iv): The Kalka Shimla Railway is an outstanding example, like the other two Indian railways already inscribed on the World Heritage List, of how access has been provided to the plains and plateaux of the Indian mountains. It is emblematic of the technical and material efforts of human societies of this period to disenclave mountain populations through the railway. It is a well-maintained living line. It is used in a spirit and for purposes that are the same as those at its inception.

The property has been very satisfactorily maintained since its inception, both with regard to the general state of infrastructure conservation and operation. The long continuity of maintenance and of uses for local passengers, goods and tourism, for more than one hundred years, is an important factor in the line's authenticity.

The legal protection in place is adequate. The public management of the line and its many employees are a guarantee of the conservation of its integrity and authenticity over the coming years, enabling a lasting expression of its heritage values. The management plan presented however lacks a programme for the conservation of the stations and annexes.

4. Recommends that the State Party give consideration to the following:

  • a) in the framework of the management plan, drawing up a detailed technical and architectural inventory of the stations and annex buildings included in the property, indicating their state of conservation and the planned programme of works, to ensure respect for the property's Outstanding Universal Value;
  • b) stepping up control of encroachment on land in the nominated property zone and in the buffer zone;
  • c) considering, as part of the management plan, more extensive local cooperation, in order to more fully present the property's Outstanding Universal Value and to organise visitor arrangements with this in mind