I had crossed Havelian several times while travelling to Abottabad and further on to Balakot, Kaghan, Naran and KKH but had never considered going there by train. In fact I was not even aware that a train operates between Islamabad and Havelian. So when the station master at Golra Railway Station informed me that a train leaves for Havelian every morning at 8:00 am I was pleasantly surprised to say the least. The same train returns to Golra after a few hours of stopover in Havelian, but does not have a scheduled stop at Golra on the way back.
Having collected all the necessary information I arrived at the Golra Station on a cool winter morning. As expected the train was not on time. There were about 25-30 people gathered at the station waiting for the train. There was no activity for a while as the ticket window was closed but on sound of the station bell the ticket window opened and there was a mad rush to get the tickets. The one-way ticket to Havelian cost me Rs. 60. You could not buy a return ticket as there is no scheduled stopover at Golra on the return journey.
The train arrived about an hour late and everybody quickly got on to reserve the best seats. I got a single seat along the window facing the Margallas. The train slowly made progress winding along the Margallas and making stops at Sangjani, Taxila Cantt, Haripur, Sarai Saleh and Baldher. After about a two hour journey we reached Havelian. It was late winter so I could still see snow capped mountains in the distance. I spent some time around Havelian city and had lunch at a small Dhaba just outside the station.
After a couple of hours wandering around the city I returned to the station to buy my return ticket. But I was informed that there were no tickets available. I insisted that I be given a ticket as I had to return to Islamabad the same day. A few other people also joined in the argument and made a point that we could stand in the train if there were no seats available. The ticket agent gave in to the pressure and immediately handed me a Rs. 80 ticket to Rawalpindi.
As luck would have it after about 2 hour of travel we reached Golra Railway Station where the train made an unscheduled stopover and I quickly disembarked.