The International Steam Pages

The Gods Move in a Mysterious Way, Ooty, India, 2009

I was forwarded the two following stories by first Andrew Jones (original is from the Hindu) and second by Chris Jeffery.

What might best be described by an old cynic as divine retribution!  Obviously it's sad news that the railway will be closed for some time, but once again Indian Railways as they did at Darjeeling some years back have no idea when it comes to cultural sensitivity in dealing with a World Heritage Site. I think they must have been taking lessons from the Chinese who believe that plastic replicas (eg Lijiang) are fair game.

This report originally appeared in the Hindu on 3rd November 2009.

Diesel loco trial run on Nilgiri Mountain Railway successful

After a series of tests and trials, a trial run of a Diesel Locomotive was successfully conducted on Nilgiri Mountain Railway on Saturday (October 31) between Mettupalayam and Hillgrove.

A release from the Salem Division said that the train for the trial run had five coaches pushed by YDM4 Diesel Locomotive, backed by a steam locomotive and another coach, since it was a trial run. The train moved over the rack section up to 8.2 km. The haulage and braking efficiency of the diesel locomotive were tested along with the steam loco in the critical section where the gradient is 1 in 12.5.

The maximum speed of the train in the rack section will remain at 13 km ph for the diesel locomotive as in the case of the steam. The diesel locomotive with 5 coaches was operated up to Hillgrove Station, a distance of 10 km, and all the parameters like hauling capacity and braking efficiency were satisfactory. The train which left Mettupalayam at 08.35 hours went up to Hillgrove Station and then came back to Kallar Station at 13.25 hrs. The outcome of the trial is found to be encouraging, the release added.

The trial run was conducted in the presence of V.Carmelus, Chief Mechanical Engineer, Chennai; P.N.Ram, Divisional Railway Manager, Salem Division; Parmanand Singh, Chief Motive Power Engineer, Diesel, Chennai; R.Kuppan, Chief Workshop Engineer; C.C.Joy, Senior Divisional Mechanical Engineer, Erode; G.Chandraseharan, Senior Divisional Mechanical Engineer, Salem; and Narayanan, Divisional Engineer, Salem.

During the trial run, the expertise and experience of Dasarathy, Retired Member Mechanical, from Railway Board, was taken.

The Advantages in operating trains with diesel locomotives on Nilgiri Mountain Railway will be that more number of coaches can be operated in a train between Mettupalayam and Coonoor than in steam operated trains, thereby catering to more tourists and passengers. Also, reliability of the train services can be improved, thereby avoiding delays in operation.


This report appeared in the Hindu on 16th November 2009:

Rain damage on NMR line estimated to be Rs.12 crore 

Special Correspondent:

Udhagamandalam: The loss on the Nilgiri Mountain Railway (NMR) line caused by the recent heavy rain and landslips is estimated to be Rs. 12 crore, according to M.S. Jayanth, General Manager, Southern Railway.

Stating this to journalists at Coonoor on Sunday, Mr. Jayanth said that the figure might have to be revised upwards.

The track and other railway property, including buildings and quarters, and about 66 bridges had suffered damage, he said. Landslips occurred at 170 places and trees fell across the track at over 20 places. About 30,000 cubic metres of mud had fallen on the track.

Referring to the suspension of services over the years due to heavy rain, he said that the recent rain was the heaviest and the damage caused was very heavy. A temporary office of the Salem Railway Division had been opened at Coonoor to oversee repair and restoration works.

While the Ooty-Coonoor section was likely to be thrown open for traffic within about two months, the Coonoor-Mettupalayam section would take several months.

Efforts would be made to get it ready by 2010 summer tourist season.

Mr. Jayanth said that in view of the tourist importance of this hill station, automatic vending machines would be set up in Ooty and Coonoor by next year.

Experiments with two engines would continue after the rack and pinion system was repaired.

The possibility of extending the Cheran Express to Mettupalayam would be explored.

Earlier, Mr. Jayanth, accompanied by senior officials including the Divisional Railway Manager, Salem. P.N. Ram, inspected some of the affected areas.

Rob Dickinson