Blue Mountain By Heart

Nilgiri Mountain train was a great surprise to me. I had always thought of Ooty as the Queen of hill stations.

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For over hundred years now this little train has been an eternal source of inspiration for thousands of travelers from around the world. This little beauty climbs up through 16 tunnels, across two hundred and fifty bridges, enchanting waterfalls, thick forest, tea plantations, great valleys and many little stations to reach Udagamandalam at an altitude of 2200 meters. This journey of 46 kilometers took over 4 hours to complete.

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Travelling today in the comforts of the train it is not possible to appreciate the challenge of building this amazing railway more than a hundred years ago.

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I traveled between ooty to Metupalayam at 2:00 noon service. I was very lucky to get first class ticket. It costs Rs 251 per person. It’s more than a four hour travel. There is much difference in both class as the seats and comforts are good in first class.  If you travel with luggage you can keep it under the seat.

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The first class is the last section so one can have a clear view of the journey with view from the guard as it is just next to guard separated by glass. You can take picture of the journey. The journey offers some breath taking views of the valley which are beyond the reach of roads.

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When you travel from Metupalayam the first class compartment is the first one so you can have a majestic Driver view as the diesel engine comes last. The Ooty station is very well maintained. Railway police keep a close watch. For all current booking they form a queue very orderly arrange a hassle free boarding experience to all so every family can comfortably board the train. The wash rooms are well maintained.

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The idea of a railway between metupalayam and conoor was first mooted in 1854. The construction of this railway was acknowledged as one of the most difficult in India. The first train between maetupalayam and conoor was operated on 15th of June 1899. Pushed by zero eight two type steam engine built by BEYER Peacock and company.

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These were subsequently replaced with X class engines built by swiss locomotive and machine works. Later they were converted to oil fired engines.

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Hill grove station, at an altitude of 1019 meters in the middle of thick forest is a very beautiful location and he time spends here will linger in the minds for longer.

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A cog wheel used in the Nilgiri railways is displayed in the Hillgrove station. This system on the engine is a very important mechanism.

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A train standing on this section with breaks on could slide down the track and hence the rack and pinion in system was adopted.

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The bridges and tunnels in the line are engineering marvels.

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The experience is awesome as the train passes through the hill side and valleys offering great views. One can see the tea gardens and other picturesque locations.

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Wooden interiors give a vintage feeling. Need to book tickets in advance because of high demand. Just wait for 2 hours at railway ticket window to experience the best of Nilgiri.

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It was very difficult to take photos as only on one side you enjoy scenery on the right hand side, unfortunately I was on left side, no attraction as such…but train journey is different experience.

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This was one of my best trip activity in my whole life… If u r going to Ooty, don’t miss this train. It doesn’t need a reservation for this journey. One can take tickets from Ooty railway station, its nearby Ooty bus station.

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Some useful info before going there.

  1. Those who are entering the platform should have valid journey or platform ticket. So its better to take the printout if you pre booked  the ticket.
  2. Return journey tickets will not be issued from the station.
  3. Maximum of 4 (four) tickets only will be issued per passenger.
  4. Tickets to Metupalayam will be issued at 8 hours (Subject to availability) and should be in the queue inplatform (chairs)
  5. .
  6. After the issuance of tickets the passengers will be accommodated in train as per the queue system only.

 

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