The International Steam Pages

Steam on the Ooty Line, 2003

Dileep Prakash reports (April 2003)

Just back from an exhilirating trip to NMR. Unlike my jinxed 1999 trip when there was a landslide the day I reached (which did not get cleared for the 6 days that I was there) - this time there were two steam hauled trains from MTP to ONR. Beautiful .. absolutely awesome!!

Currently 5 X class are working (2 are at Golden Rock for overhaul). One of these is now converted to oil firing and seems to be running fine (but is very very complicated). Loco Foreman at ONR Mr. Harinarayanan said that more modifications were needed in the loco for it to run successfully. It did haul one train from MTP to ONR when I was there.

The train were absolutely packed with passengers and there was no space to even stand in the second class compartments. I however, disliked the redone coaches - they are like a third class DTC bus with absolutely no space to keep lugguage and only one door in the centre of the coach which makes it very difficult to move. The older coaches with separate doors for each compartment are much better. Even the new first class looks like a bus!! Phew where has all the creativity gone. I think we must write to Southern Railway not to ruin the design of the older coaches and if they were to renovate them they should be done in the same design.

There is a problem of steam staff at ONR. I read the notices on their boards which said that there is a acute shortage of trained steam mechanics/fitters, etc.

On the whole the people running the show are a committed lot and make the railway work like clockwork - running on time, clean stations, clean trains, clean locos.

Rob Dickinson