Fire destroys UNESCO heritage site | india | Hindustan Times
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Fire destroys UNESCO heritage site

A heritage railway station made entirely of wood and built by the British in 1903 was gutted in a fire here early today, police said.

india Updated: May 03, 2011 16:41 IST

A heritage railway station made entirely of wood and built by the British in 1903 was gutted in a fire here early on Tuesday, police said.

No one was injured. The station was a junction for the Kalka-Shimla rail line, but traffic was plying normally on the route. Kandaghat is 25 km from Shimla.

The entire station located on the Kalka-Shimla track in Solan district was destroyed in the fire that broke out in the dead of night, Inspector General (railway traffic) Pradeep Kumar Sarpal told IANS.

He said five fire engines took more than five hours to control the blaze. "Prima facie, it seems a short-circuit is the reason for the fire," he said.

Another police official said all the records and furniture at the station were destroyed. Officials of Northern Railways from Ambala division have reached the spot to evaluate the loss and to know the reasons for the fire. Divisional Railway Manager P.K. Sanghi told reporters that an inquiry has been ordered. But he said all trains on the track were plying normally.

The century-old Kalka-Shimla rail line, a 96-km-long narrow gauge railroad built to ferry Europeans to and from Shimla - then the summer capital of British India -- has been chosen by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

In 1903, the rail line was opened to traffic by Indian Viceroy Lord Curzon. At that time, only Europeans were allowed to use the rail link.

The ancient communication and track-control system, called the Neals Token Instrument System, was still in use on this rail section.