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World Heritage Convention

Decision 45 COM 7B.161
Mountain Railways of India (India) (C 944ter)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/23/45.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decisions 43 COM 7B.62 and 44 COM 7B.26 adopted at its 43rd session (Baku, 2019) and extended 44th session (Fuzhou/online, 2021),
  3. Commends the State Party for its investment into the maintenance of steam engines and historic rolling stock, the construction of new engines at the Nilgiri Mountain Railway (NMR), and the conversion of oil-fired engines to diesel-fired engines, which is a potentially major step towards making the long-term conservation of steam railways environmentally sustainable;
  4. Welcomes the documentation of important documents and objects relating to the railways and the development of accessible website presentations of each railway, and strongly encourages the State Party to continue its actions to both conserve the documentary and artefactual components of the railways and make them accessible to the public;
  5. Welcomes the State Party’s advice that the management structures at the three railways include heritage units, and requests the State Party to provide information on how in-house heritage conservation expertise is represented within those structures at the property component level and at zonal railways level;
  6. Reiterates its request that the State Party submit the Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan (CCMP) for the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) for review by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies prior to its formal adoption;
  7. Requests the State Party to complete the development of the Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan (CCMP) for the Kalka Shimla Railway (KSR) and the NMR and submit them to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies before the relevant management bodies formally endorse any of the plans;
  8. Requests that the State Party inform the Committee, via the World Heritage Centre, of the specific conservation guidelines used to guide the conservation of the three railways in the absence of endorsed CCMPs;
  9. Urges the State Party to determine what provisions would be required in the CCMP for the protection of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the component railways of property if private operation is considered, and recommends that specific clauses be included in any contract to ensure compliance with the CCMP policies along with commitments to implementing any measures included in the Committee’s decisions, protecting identified heritage attributes, submitting proposed actions to the World Heritage Centre in a timely manner, in line with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, and complying with the recommendations formulated by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies;
  10. Requests the State Party to complete the mapping of property and buffer zone boundaries for all property components and, when they are endorsed by the relevant management agencies, to submit them to the World Heritage Centre, in conformity with Paragraph 164 of the Operational Guidelines;
  11. Takes note that the State Party does not regard the proposed conservation of the DHR stations at Ghum and Darjeeling as falling under the provisions of Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, but urges the State Party to ensure inputs from heritage specialists to ensure the protection of the property’s OUV and to consider submitting information about these conservation actions to the World Heritage Centre, in line with the aforementioned Paragraph 172, for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  12. Acknowledges the progress made by the State Party with the implementation of some of the recommendations of the 2019 Reactive Monitoring mission, and reiterates its request that it fully implement these recommendations;
  13. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2024, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 47th session.
Decision Code
45 COM 7B.161
States Parties 1
State of conservation reports
2023 Mountain Railways of India
Context of Decision