Indian Hill Railroads: Climbing Out of the Heat

There were many reasons to build railroads: to carry passengers and freight; to unite towns, villages, and nations; to make money; or simply to stop other companies from building them. The famous Indian hill railroads, however, owe their existence to a very particular phenomenon—the British colonists’ dislike of the hot Indian summer.

Since their inception in 1853, the railroads in India had quickly become a vital part of the way of life in the subcontinent, used by both the Indians and the British, though mostly in separate cars or trains. As the railroad network grew, the British realized that it could also be the answer to the nagging question of how to avoid the oppressive heat during the summer ...

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