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27 Mar 2019, Edition - 1352, Wednesday

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Coimbatore

More rail services to Ooty on cards

Covai Post Network

Coimbatore : With Nilgiri Mountain Railway (NMR) occupying a position of pride in the rail network, Southern Railways is taking efforts to introduce more services to meet the demand from the ever increasing footfalls in Udhaamandalam (Ooty).

To start with, a round trip between Ooty and Ketti will be started. It is also ready to offer chartered services by a coal-fired steam-hauled locomotive between Mettupalayam and Coonoor for corporates and tour operators.

Two additional steam locomotives and 15 coaches have already been on Golden Rock Workshop and Integral Coach Factory and once the additional rolling stock is received, the steam loco run will be extended up to Ooty from the present Coonoor, a Southern Ralway statement said.

Round trips for tourists to Coonoor will also be introduced between Coonoor and Runnymede. Souvenir outlets will be started at Ooty and Coonoor so that tourists can carry the memories of their travel experience in NMR.

A theme-based coffee shop is also on the cards at Ooty station where an old steam loco is on display on a pedestal. Southern Railway General Manager R K Kulshrestharecently inspected NMR and made various proposals that include a heritage museum at Udagamandalam Station. One such museum at Mettupalayam is attracting huge crowds.

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The opening of the 26 -mile-long branch line between Podanur and Mettupalayam in 1873 marked the beginning of NMR system. Mettupalayam became the foot hill point and in 1885, Nilgiri Railway Company was formed with a capital of Rs 25 lakhs

In 1891, the first sod of the line was cut by Lord Wenlock, the then Governor of Madras Presidency, and the line from Mettupalayam to Coonoor was completed and opened for traffic on June 15 June, 899 by the Madras Railway. The line was extended from Coonoor to Udagamandalam in 1908 at a cost of Rs 24.4 akh.

The metre gauge section from Mettupalayam to Ooty is 46.61 km with an average gradient of about 1 in 24.5. There are about 208 curves, 250 bridges, 16 tunnels and 15 ROB/RUBs. NMR received UNESCO World Heritage Status in 2005.

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