October 15, 2019
Pride of the Blue Mountains and one of the most popular tourist attractions south of the Vindhyas the Nilgiri Mountain Railway (NMR) occupied centre stage on Tuesday with people from various sections of the society singing its praise.
The occasion was the commemoration of the 111th NMR Day under the aegis of the Heritage Steam Chariot Trust (HSCT),a non governmental organization devoted to the preservation of the unique mountain railway line and the Salem Division of the Southern Railway.
With a good number of NMR enthusiasts including members of the Citizens Federation of Ootacamund ,college students and members of the mercantile community present the Mettupalayam-Ooty train was greeted with cheer as it chugged into the spruced up railway station here.
Tourists were received with flowers and some of them joined a cake cutting ceremony organized to mark the occasion.
Speaking to The Covai Post K.Natarajan,the Managing Trustee of the HSCT said that it was on this day way back in 1908 that the internationally renowned NMR line was extended to Ooty.
Described as “a marvel of engineering skill” in the construction of railway lines, the construction of the mountain railway between Mettupalayam and Coonoor had been completed in 1899 and traffic opened on June 15,1899.
It was extended to Ooty by 1908 and thrown open to traffic on October 15,1908.
Pointing out that the occasion was being commemorated without fail every year, he said that the objective was to highlight the importance of the NMR which has been recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Kamlesh Kataria the President of the Citizens Federation of Ootacamund underscored the role of local initiative in preserving and promoting the NMR.
Some others adverted to the diesel locomotive which was being used on the Coonoor-Ooty sector and opined that at least during weekends steam engines should be used.
On the occasion a shield was presented to the Ooty railway station in recognition of its litter free appearance. It was received by the station master Ramesh.