Trip down South....

Trip to Coonoor, Ooty and Mangalore between the 19th and 25th of May 1999 with Reynold, Jaysin and Ravi

  • The Nilagiri Mountain Railway.
  • The Rack System.
  • The Journey up to Ooty.
  • The Loco shed at Coonoor.
  • Southern Railway Locos and more...
  • Konkan Railway to Mangalore.
  • Heritage Steam Chariot
  • Itinerary-
    -left Kurla Terminus (CLAT), on the 19th afternoon by Matsyagandha Exp at 15:15 (19th)
    -arrived Mangalore (MAQ) next morning, 2 hours late at 9:30 am (20th)
    -left for Podanur Jn. by Chennai Mail at 11:45 am (20th)
    -arrived at Podanur Jn at 22:10, two hours late. (20th)
    -bus to Ukaddam (20th)
    -bus to Gandhivaram (Coimbatore - CBE) (20th)
    -bus to Metupalayam (20th)
    -night at Metupalayam (MTP) station (20th)
    -morning departure from MTP at 7:30 am (21st)
    -arrival at Ooty, 2 hours late at 13:30 (21st)
    -day and night at Ooty (21st)
    -day at Ooty (22nd)
    -evening departure to Coonoor (CNR) at 18:00 (22nd)
    -night arrival at CNR at 19:10 (22nd)
    -night at CNR (22nd)
    -day at CNR (23rd)
    -bus in the evening to MTP (23rd)
    -bus to Gandhivaram (CBE) (23rd)
    -Bus to Podanur Jn. (23rd)
    -West Cost Express to MAQ at night from Podanur Jn. (23rd)
    -arrival MAQ 2 hours late at 7:45 am (24th)
    -day at MAQ (24th)
    -night departure from MAQ by Matsyagandha Express at 21:00 (24th)
    -arrival CLAT, 2 hours late at 14:50 (25th)
    Map showing area travelled in the itinerary-


    ^ North
    (Not to scale)

    (Click on the images below to view a larger image)

    The Nilagiri Mountain Railway

    The famous 'X' class of locomotives that work the Nilagiri Mountain Railway (NMR). These locomotives were all built at the Swiss Locomotive Works (SLW) in Winterthur in two batches. The first 7 arrived in 1920 and the last 5 in 1952. These locos worked the entire line from MTP to Ooty till 1993 when Diesels took over the section between CNR and Ooty. The locos are 0-8-2 side tanks with 2 sets of cylinders, the low pressure cylinders driving the rack wheels. The loco featured is no.37389.
    The 5 coach formation of the Nilagiri Passenger stands at Coonoor railway station. The coach with the name board on it is the leading first class coach of the train. All coaches have a balcony at one end for the brakeman to stand in and operate the rack and wheel brakes. The coaches date from 1931, 1960, and 1964-65. Some of the coaches have been refurbished by the Golden Rock Workshops (GOC) of SR at Tiruchirappali in the late 80's.

    Metre Gauge Diesels made an appearance on the NMR in 1993 to supplement the ageing steam loco fleet. However the YDM4 class of diesels can only work the relatively flat incline from CNR to Ooty and the rack section is still in the hands of the capable X class. There are a total of 3 YDM4's (6343, 6481, 6279) allocated to the NMR all based at CNR shed. However there are only 2 in operation at any one time on the line and the third is either in repair at GOC or then on standby. Loco featured is YDM4 6343
    Mettupalayam (MTP) Railway Station at the foothills of the Nilagiris and the start of the Hill Railway to Ooty. The picture shows an overhead view of the MG yard with the blue mountains in the distance. To the left is the engine shed at MTP which is a satellite shed for CNR and where the engines rest overnight. In the middle is the carriage and wagon repair depot and the rolling stock yard. To the right is the Coaling yard for the steam locos and a coal carrying BG 'BC' wagon can be seen too!

    Ooty Railway station as seen from the train as it approches the platform. Ooty station is extremely well maintained and kept in a spic and span condition. In fact the rest of Ooty is a complete dissapointment after the pretty little station!! The garden outside the station is definetely worth a look to!
    Ketti station as seen from the train! Ketti is the second station from Coonoor as you go up to Ooty. Here the local shuttle between Ooty and CNR waits for our train at the crossing station. The stations between MTP and Ooty as you climb up are as follows - MTP, Kalar, Hillgrove, Runnymede, Coonoor, Wellington, Ketti, Arvankadu, Lovedale and Ooty. Kalar station has been excluded from the SR timetable although the train does make a stop there and it is also the start of the rack system!

    Coonoor Station yard as seen from our train. Coonoor station is one of the prettiest stations I have seen and Coonoor in general is a far better hill station than Ooty! The station building can be seen on the left along with the sigle platform. The signal box is next and then comes the line going up to Ooty, whose incline is quite apparent in the picture. The YDM4 diesel waits patiently on the right to take over our train to Ooty. On the extreme right are the approach lines to the shed.
    Early morning at Coonoor with all the starter signals set at danger! The Coonoor station building and the signal box is straight out of the British Raj and could easily pass of as a scene in the UK!! CNR station has featured in the film, 'A Passage to India' and more recently in the opening scene of the popular Hindi film, 'Dil Se'

    The Rack System

    A view of the Abt Rack and Pinion section. This shot was taken at Hillgrove where the rack ends temporarily to give way to a crossing/point. The rack section starts from Kalar station all the way up to Coonoor. From MTP to Kalar it is a flat 7 km section.
    Close up of the rack wheels of our coach. The rack wheels are suspended from the chassis of the coach and have their own brakes which are operated by the brake man.

    The Journey up to Ooty

    Tunnel No.14 enroute to Ooty from Coonoor. This tunnel is one of the longer ones on the line although it does appear to be small in this view.
    A rock overhang on the rack section between Runnymede and Coonoor. The overhang is so low, it almost appears to be hitting the top of the coach!
    A view of the Eucalyptus forest just out of Coonoor as the track winds its way up. Note that the rack section has ended now!
    The steep incline out of Hillgrove station can be judged by comparing it to the relatively flat track on the left of the picture.
    Adderly Viaduct crossing enroute to Coonoor. This is one of the longest bridges on the line along with the Glendale viaduct.
    X class No.37389 pushes the train up a Viaduct.
    The journey back from Ooty to Coonoor by the last departure of the day...the 1800 Coonoor shuttle. YDM4 6343 incharge.
    The Holiday Special for Ooty enters the platform line at Coonoor pushed by No.37390
    The same train bound for Ooty now leaves with the YDM4 in charge. The YDM4 first pulls out the train from the Coonoor platform and then after the points and signals are set reverses direction and pushes it up to Ooty!
    The YDM4 (6481) has just passed me and is pushing the train up the 1 in 26 incline from Coonnoor station.

    The Loco shed at Coonoor

    A panoramic view of the Coonoor Steam Locomotive shed with engines in steam!!
    This shot was taken at the peak of its activity after the two powers had arrived with the
    morning workings up from MTP! The Loco Foremans office is on the left.
    The shed staff at CNR pose with my friends and no.37392. Third from left is Jaysin. Extreme right are Reynold and Ravi and fourth from right is Driver A.Sebastian who showed us around the shed.
    The X class locos covered in steam get attention at the shed!
    No.37392 poses in the morning sun at the entrance to the CNR loco shed!
    Another view from the inside of the shed showing the elegant design of the X class!

    Southern Railway Locos and more...

    WDM2 no.17995, Khrishnarajapuram Shed, double headed with an engine from the same shed (not seen in pic) with a BCN load waiting for the 'all clear' at Cannanore.
    Ernakulam based WDM2 no.18374 refuels at MAQ fuelling pit after a long haul from Bombay (CLAT)
    WDM2, no.17473 of Erode shed stands with a morning passenger at MAQ station. Erode shed had the most innovative colour scheme amongst the SR powers!
    Possibly the ugliest looking locomotive in India....WDM2, (yes, believe it or not!!), no.17519 of Erode shed stands powered off at Calicut railway station. Probably the result of local shed efforts to improve driver visibility!!
    No.11008, one of only 15 WDM7's built on IR. All powers are based at Ernakulam shed, SR and are numbered 11001-15. The loco looks identical to the WDM2 except for the missing front grille!
    Another example of a WDM7, no.11015...the last of the lot built...this time sporting a grille similar to that on the WDM2's!
    140 Tonne, Accident Relief Train (ART), Erode based at Mangalore yard. This is a Jessops built Diesel powered crane which had travelled quite a long distance from its base at Erode to help in the clearance of the derailed coaches of the Navyug Express which had derailed just outside MAQ!
    Plasser & Theurer, India built Tie Tamping Car at work on the MAQ-Shoranur line.

    Konkan Railway to Mangalore

    Early morning on the Konkan Railway at a wayside station. The Matsyagandha Exp (not in pic) bound for Bombay waits on the platform line while the Madgaon bound Goa Exp hauled by Ernakulam based WDM2, no.17583 races past after having cleared the 6.5 km long tunnel outside Ratnagiri.
    Pune based WDG2 no.14566 waits patiently at Ratnagiri station after having worked a BCN frieght train in.
    Self propelled Rail Maintenance Vehicle of Konkan Rly at Ratnagiri.
    2-car Medical Relief train parked at Ratnagiri yard of KR. These vans appear to be self propelled as well with driving cabs on both ends. The driving cabs resemble those of the EMU's! The power is probably diesel and an exhaust can be seen mounted on top of the first coach. Note also that the livery differs from those on the rest of IR, which is red and yellow/white.

    The Nilgiri Mountain Railway (NMR) celebrates its centenary year this year with the
    Heritage Steam Chariot - Steam engine train sightseeing and picnic tour.
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