Friday, March 20, 2009

The Nilgiris Mountain Railway

The Nilgiris Mountain Railway (NMR)

The Nilgiris Mountain Railway is a marvel of engineering. It connects the town of Mettupalayam with the hill station of Udhagamandalam or Ooty in the Nilgiris of southern India. A Swiss inventor named Riggenback was the brain behind this project. Planned in 1854, the first train steamed out only 45 years later. While Coonoor was the original destination until 1899, Fern Hill and Ooty were added to the route in 1908. Hauled by the Swiss steam engines designed by the Swiss Locomotive Works, the NMR now has twelve such engines. It covers the 46-km route between Mettupalayam and Coonoor in four-and-a-half hours with five stations. Its average speed for safety reasons is 10.4 km per hour which entitles it to be the slowest train in India.

This mountain railway has been declared a World Heritage Site during the 29th session of the World Heritage Committee meeting in Durban for its “outstanding contribution in keeping steam heritage tourism alive.”

The ride is really an experience. The train passes through sharp curves en route. As it winds its way slowly, we can see the mountain streams flowing onto the plains below. There are five picturesque stations en route, Kallar, Adderley, Hill Grove, Aruvankadu, and Lovedale. Fern Hill the last station was closed down a few years ago. There are 16 tunnels and 26 bridges en route.

Imagine the steep incline of this railway route from 330 feet at Mettupalayam to 2,200 meters at Udagamandalam. The steep incline begins at Kallar. Due to the incline, the train runs on the rack and pinion system or the Alternate Biting System. You will be surprised to see the engine at the end while climbing to push it, but on the return journey, the engine is at front to ensure proper speed. The train is a charming blue and cream with wooden coaches and large windows.

A window seat is a must to enjoy this ride.
Source: Young World March 10, 2009
Image: Google

1 comments on "The Nilgiris Mountain Railway"

Anonymous said...

There are some Exotic hillstations. Ooty, Yelagiri etc near Nilgiris.For more South India Tour Packages, Travels agents, to spot more tourist destination you could refer the site



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