Saturday, January 14, 2006

Nilagiri Mountain Railway #1

A view of the Mettupalayam loco shed early in the morning from platform 2. Mettupalayam has only two for broad gauge towards Coimbatore jn and another for the NMR.

The Swiss Winthertur Loco brining in the Ooty passenger into platform 2. The early morning chill and gloom accentuate the hissing steam from the loco.

Mettupalayam-Ooty passenger starts its journey from Mettupalayam. The first 3Km is a smooth run where actually, you can feel the power of the little loco. At this point, the climb begins, a straight and gradual rise till Kallar where the rack and pinion contraption is engaged. From there it is a 1:12 gradient. The man on the verandah has an enviable role...he operates the hand brakes of the coach on curves and slopes along with the others on each coach's verandah. he is also the eyes for the driver and communicates backwards with the use of his flags--semaphore signalling. The reward? Stunning views from the best position!

This man has work twice a day as there is only one round service on his line. This is a level crossing just outside Mettupalayam where the gradual slope to Kallar starts.

The passenger chugs past the level crossing...the loco pushes the train up the hills.

A small bridge on the NMR spans a wonderful waterfall. This photo was taken from the road quite far off...

A freshly painted YDM4 diesel waits for the Mettupalayam - Ooty passenger at Coonoor. The rack section ends here and the diesels take over from here to Ooty. The steam loco does not do the entire trip except for specially chartered trains.

Another shot of the steaming Swiss...

A sign at the Ooty railway station showing the altitude of the station from mean sea level. I am 2 km above Chennai!

The Ooty-Coonoor shuttle rolls through some pleasant woods after Lovedale. Ooty-Coonoor line is relatively flatter, though it offers great views of vallies, plantations and woods. It also has some really pleasant stations.

The Ooty-Coonoor shuttle prepares to leave Ooty...the coach in the middle with square windows was a recently refurbished at the golden Rocks workshop, Trichy. The leg-space for seating is worse than Air Deccan A320s! The older coaches have a better seating but poor visibility.

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