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Heritage Nilgiris Mountain Rail to get a facelift

June 01, 2009 13:22 IST

The Unesco-acclaimed World Heritage Nilgiris Mountain Railway, whose train featured in the famous Chhaiyaa, Chhaiyaa song, is all set to get the much-needed facelift.

The metre-gauge train, which chugs through the beautiful terrain of the Nilgiris mountains and has won the hearts of local and foreign tourists for over a century, requires extensive repairs.

The Mettupalayam Coonoor section of the mountain railway was thrown open to public on June 15, 1899 and the line was extended to Udhagamandalam in 1908.

Southern Railway has chalked out a two pronged approach to address both track and locomotive issues for the 46.61 km long metre gauge rail line.

"We intend to complete track renewal for close to 17 kms of track which have been identified out of the total section, along with reconditioning of steel sleepers," SR spokesperson Neenu Ittyerah told PTI.

She said tenders would be floated very shortly to choose the contractors for the facelift works of the track.

"New rack chairs, which are an integral part of this specialised track structure, are being manufactured in our own workshops," she said.

However, the railway official said there would not be any additional coaches or any modification to the train on the route.

Southern Railway officials said since there had been disruption in services on the NMR recently, the Railway has already sanctioned four new steam locomotives, which were being manufactured at the Golden Rock Workshop.

However, the first of these locomotives would be available after a year or so.

"Until such time, special efforts have been made to improve the stock of critical spares and to ensure the highest quality of the same. Already two locomotives with oil fired systems have been inducted into the circuit. These have performed well and it is proposed to convert more locos in a similar fashion," officials added.

Southern Railway runs four pairs of trains per day on the Nilgiris Mountain Railway, of which one pair runs between Mettupalayam and Udhagamandalam and three pairs of trains are operated between Coonoor and Udhagamandalam.

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