Transport in Himachal Pradesh
Transport in Himachal Pradesh can be divided into below 3 parts
We will discuss modes of transport and its current status in Himachal Pradesh here.
- Roadways Transport in Himachal Pradesh
Number of national highways passing through Himachal Pradesh is eight. Total length of these highways is 1235 km.
Name of National Highways are as follows:
- NH 1A
- NH 20
- NH 21
- NH 21A
- NH 22
- NH 70
- NH 72
- NH 88
NH 1A touches Shahpur.
NH 20 passes through Pathankot, Chakki, Nurpur, Palampur and Mandi.
NH 21 connects Chandigarh with Manali through Mandi.
NH 21A begins at Pinjore in Haryana, passes through Nalagarh and reaches Swarghat, where it connects with NH 21.
NH 22 connects Ambala with Kaurik through Kalka, Simla and Wangtoo.
NH 70 passes through Mubarakpur, Amb, Nadaun and Hamirpur.
NH 72 begins at Ambala and passes through Amb and Paunta Sahib in Himachal Pradesh before terminating at Haridwar in Uttarakhand.
NH 88 connects Simla with Kangra through Hamirpur and Nadaun. The state boasts some of the longest road tunnels in the country namely the 3 km long Aut tunnel in Mandi on NH-21 and the under construction 8.8 km Rohtang tunnel which will create an all year round link between Manali and Lahaul Valley which otherwise remains isolated during its 8 month long winter period.
In addition to the National Highways, the state also has a large mesh of highways and village roads. Most tourist spots in Himachal Pradesh such as Shimla, Manali, Dharamsala etc. are well connected by roads. Some of the roads in Himachal are seasonal and get closed during winters and monsoons due to heavy snowfall, landslides and washouts. The Manali-Leh road, for example, remains closed for most part of the winters.
The World Bank has approved a loan of $220 million in 2007 to improve priority segments of the state road network. The government-owned Himachal Road Transport Corporation runs an excellent network of buses interstate and across the state and provides all-weather access to the remotest of the corners of the state.
Himachal Pradesh being a major tourist destination, there is no dearth of private buses and taxis. In spite of state being hilly, Hamirpur District has got highest road density in the country.
The HRTC buses in different cities of Himachal Pradesh provide facilities for commutation to even the most remote areas. These buses are frequent, reliable and make for an extremely affordable means of transport. The HRTC provides four types of buses for public transportation in the city: ordinary buses, hi-tech buses, luxury coach buses and deluxe buses. Most private bus agencies operate in cities like Shimla, Manali, etc.
- Railway Transport in Himachal Pradesh
Himachal has two narrow-gauge rail tracks. The Kalka-Shimla Railway track has a length of 96 kilometers. It passes through 102 tunnels and crosses 864 bridges.The track has been in existence for over a century now. Panoramic Kalka-Shimla Railway known to be an engineering marvel of British India. The level of difficulty in laying of tracks could be judged by a journey in the route. The other narrow gauge rail route in the state is the Kangra Valley Railway.
Bilaspur–Mandi–Leh line is a proposed railway project in Himachal Pradesh which will be the longest railway track in the state and is expected to become the highest railway track in the world.
The Kangra Valley Railway covers a distance of 164 km (101.9 mi) from Pathankot, Punjab to Jogindernagar in Himachal Pradesh between Theselinesare proposed to be converted to broad gauge and further linked to Bilaspur-Mandi line at Mandi.
Both these tracks are commercially unviable but are operated because of their heritage value.
A broad gauge line exists which connects Nangal Dam in Punjab to Una in Himachal Pradesh. Currently this line is being extended till Talwara (Punjab) with track operational till Churutakarla. Una is connected to New Delhi by Jan Shatabdi express and Himachal Express.
- Airways Transport in Himachal Pradesh
Topography of Himachal Pradesh is very rough so airways plays very important role in connecting the hilly areas of the state. Himachal Pradesh don’t have any international airport. The three important airports in Himachal Pradesh are:
- Shimla Airport near Shimla,
- Gaggal Airport near Kangra and
- Bhuntar Airport near Kullu.
The flights operate only seasonally due to extreme weather conditions, especially in winters. All these airports have runways shorter than 4000 feet and therefore allow the operation of only the smaller aircraft such as the 18-seater Dornier & 42 seater ATR, which is the most common aircraft operating on these runways.
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