The International Steam Pages
Steam on the Ooty line, January 2016
Jakob Stilling reports:
Just back from a big tour of South India with my wife. Obviously, the program included some time at Coonoor to enjoy the new oil fired class X. We spent Jan 3rd - 6th 2016 in the area.
Although always working bunker first – and equipped with ugly piping for the oil furnance on the tank - they are still attractive locoes, and where else do you go to see steam worked State Railway daily service trains, and on a rack?
The line is, as is well known, unfortunately quite difficult to chase by car – there are only about 4 or 5 places where the road gets anywhere near the line, and a place like Adderley Viaduct is about 2 miles climb from the nearest road along the line through real jungle, which the memorial for a platelayer near the line helps you remember.
With one train in each direction on the rack, you need a lot of time to do serious linesiding. However, the bridge at Glendale is still very attractive and only about 100 meters walk through the teabushes from the road leading to the tea factory.
I understand that shed staff used to be rather hostile and that photos in the shed areas were often declined. This was no problems at all during my visit, nobody cared that tourists wandered round the shed at Ooty. The three oil fired engines work all trains on the rack, 2 coal fired engines are kept in serviceable condition but are rarely used.
On one day, a works train had been collecting old sleepers in the mid-day void, but I only realized as we arrived in Coonoor to travel on the afternoon train down the rack.
Since October 2015, there has been a Nilgiri Railway Museum including one of the coal fired engines opposite the station at Mettupalayam.