The Kangra Valley Railway lies in the sub-Himalayan region and covers a distance of 164 km (101.9 mi) from Pathankot to Jogindernagar. The Kangra valley railway comes under the Firozpur division of Northern Railway. It is one of two mountain railways that run in Himachal Pradesh, the other being Kalka-Shimla Railway, which has been designated as World heritage site by UNESCO. The Kangra Valley Railway is among in the tentative list of UNESCO world heritage sites. The Indian Railway has identified Pathankot-Jogindernagar route to be converted into Broad Gauge and to extend it to Mandi. Kangra, Himachal Pradesh is a hilly region which has an average elevation of 733 m (2,405 ft).
The Kangra valley is not one place in particular. It happens to be the name given to the entire region that lies between the Dhauladhar ranges of the Himalayas to the north and the last strangling foothills to the south. So, roughly speaking, this talk is about a slim rectangular belt running 90 miles in length and 30 miles in breadth through the mountains. To the north, the peaks rear skyward; first a low chain of ridges followed by an extensive line averaging between 7,000 and 9,000 feet. Directly behind those are massifs rising from 13,000 to well over 16,000 feet. Then the snows.
Anything else would have ruined it. A different alignment, a different mode of taking the railway through the maze of hills and valleys would have spoilt its picture postcard perfectness. This unique line has just two tunnels, one of which is only 250 feet and the other 1,000 feet in length. The traveler must remember this is a total distance of 103 miles. Instead of boring his way through the mountains, the railway engineer has skillfully avoided running head first into the hillside.
Instead of following dizzy curves, he has cleverly chosen to avoid the awkward corners and straighten his turning. For the Kangra Valley Railway presents to the traveler, a chance to gaze as long as he likes on the ever present panorama of snow-clad ranges and the gold green fields without being swung round every few minutes on a narrow arc before his eyes can greet the scenery. Certainly the scenery through which the train passes is ample compensation for the extra distance covered as compared to getting there by road.
The most picturesque parts of the valley are exposed to the view – the stretch of 18 miles from Mangwal to Kangra, for example, lies through country unsurpassed for its majestic grandeur with the majestic Ban Ganga gorge and the deep Kangra chasm as two piece de resistance. As one approaches Palampur, the ever present background of snowy chain peaks, 15,000 and 16,000 feet in height is barely ten miles away. From here onwards, the line runs parallel to the Dhauladhar range and much nearer to it Than any other railways in India that ever comes so close to the eternal snows.