Nilgiri Mountain Railway A joy ride

Adventure - Activity
The travelers can see the coffee and tea plantations while traversing by the Mettupalayam-Ooty route. The halts at Ruuneyemede, Adderly, Lovedale, and Ketty railheads range will lend the travelers with an opportunity to delve their senses in the famous food provided at these halts. The railhead halt of Adderly is somewhat nestled at the dense lush green curve where the travelers can also take the beautiful bird view pictures of the whole city. The toy train stops at these stations for 5 to 10 minutes or maybe for 15-20 minutes if the signals are not clear.
The travelers can buy the special homemade chocolates which can be purchased from the confectionery shop opened from morning to evening on the Mettupalayam-Ooty rail route. The travelers are assured to enjoy the sightseeings which falls while on the way to Ooty. 

Quick facts: 
Elevation: 7,248 feet| Total Tunnels: 16 Tunnels | Curves: 208 curves | Route :46Kms  | Uphill journey time: 5.00 hours | Downhill journey time: 3.6 hours

Asia’s steepest track with 8.33% gradients |  Total bridges on the route: 250 bridges

The Ooty’s Nilgiri Mountain Railway comprises of clusters of railheads made by the Britishers in the year 1908, in Tamil Nadu, South India. Later on, in the same years, Madras Railway Company took over this rail division. The Salem Rail Division of South Indian Railway is now the main authority since 14th April 1951, responsible for the maintenance of the Nilgiri Mountain Railway. In July 2005, this unique rail route was given the world heritage status which was the extension to the World Heritage Site of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. The site of Nilgiris is now a day globally acknowledged as the “Mountain Railways of India”. 

The steamed locomotives still run on the Coonoor to Udhaghamandalam hilly rail route. Although some of the steamed locos have been replaced by the diesel once but still there is a huge demand for the steamed locos from the guild of travelers who visit Ooty to take a joy ride on this toy train.  The famous “Chaiyya Chaiyya song” from the movie Dil Se was shot on the roof of the Nigiri Mountain Railway. 

The NMR (Nilgiri Mountain Railway) is the sole rail route with a 1,000 mm track gauge. This railway line is conceded as the rarest of all meter gauge routes which uses ‘Abt and Pinion Racks System’ to climb the steep mountains. On this high elevated railway route some trains are usually operated by the special ‘X class steam locomotives’ manufactured by the Swiss Locomotives and the Machine Works of Winterthur in Switzerland. These steam locomotives are made with such a brisk technology that it can haul 90 tonnes of weight with a speed of 10Kms and 15kms. These rugged steam engines can easily operate on either of the rack section of Mettupalayam and Udagamandalam(Ooty) rail route. But at the same time, the diesel locomotives can operate on the entire section of the rail route and are more sophisticated than the steam engines. The diesel engines have a grand fuel tank  to carry 1000 litres of petrol in a day. The furnace oil section in these diesel locomotives helps in increasing the acceleration up to 33Kms. On the Conoor-Udagamandalam line, the steam engines get replaced by diesel engines which can easily work without the use of pinions and racks. the majority of the locomotives are repaired at the Coonoor shed(Golden Work Shops). 

The steamed locomotives have been creating disruptions in the service, so some of the rail locomotives have been planned to be replaced by modernized diesel engines. But on the request of NMR, the government is considering to rebuilt few of the steam engines that will especially run on the complete dedicated steamed locomotive section of Coonoor-Udagamandalam.  The changes which have been in the pipeline will only be persistent to the rail coaches and not the overall Nilgiri Mountain Rail system. 

The rail counter at Ooty-Mettupalayam reckoning the world heritage status still issues the “Edmondson style manual tickets’ which were generally used in the colonial period. During the peak season, travelers may face great difficulties in getting a ticket, so it is advised to book the Ooty to Mettupalayam tickets through an online booking offered by South Indian Railways.

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