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26 Feb 2021, Edition - 2054, Friday

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Coimbatore

Nilgiri Mountain Railway to focus on tourism development

Covai Post Network

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Coimbatore : As part of its focus on tourism development in Nilgiris Mountain Railway (NMR), there is a proposal to open ‘coachteria’, a restaurant In the coach at Udagamandalam (Ooty), besides catering stalls at Udhagamandalam and Hillgrove railway stations.

There would also come up souvenir shops at these three heritage stations, a Southern Railway (SR) statement said. Nilgiris, hailed as the ‘Blue Mountains’ draws a large number of tourists even from abroad.Railways has taken steps to develop the NMR from Mettupalayam to Udhagamandam, the century-old technological marvel. Rail aficionados cherish the dream of travelling in this system listed under UNESCO world heritage list.

Golden Rock Workshop has modified NMR-87, a 25-year-old NMR coach in line with world-class standards, retaining its heritage value. The aesthetics of the coach was improved by fitting seats akin to those of the newly introduced AC double-decker service. The NMR coach has been upgraded at a cost of Rs.1.8 lakh promising a new experience for tourists.

Heritage NMR museums are drawing visitors at Mettupalayam and Udhagamandalam. The one at Udhagamandalam was opened this June. Wi-fi facility has been provided at Udhagamandalam, Coonoor and Mettupalayam railway stations.

Efforts are on to introduce more services to meet the demand from the ever increasing footfalls in Ooty every year. SR is ready to offer chartered services by a coal-fired steam locomotive train between Mettupalayam and Coonoor for interested corporates and tour operators. Two additional steam locomotives and 15 coaches are getting ready at the Integral Coach Factory to extend the loco up to Ooty from Coonoor.

Round trips for the tourists visiting Coonoor will also be introduced between Coonoor and Runnymede. Souvenir outlets will be started at Ooty and Coonoor.

A theme-based coffee shop is also on cards in Ooty station where an old X Class steam loco is on display.

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