Mountain Railways of India
Route: Neral - Matheran - Neral
Abdul Hussain, son of the business tycoon, Sir Adamjee Peerbhoy
of Mumbai, was a regular visitor to Matheran at the turn of the
century. After having obtained a reluctant consent from his father,
young Abdul Hussain camped at Neral in 1900 AD to plan for a narrow
gauge railway line to Matheran. The construction started in 1904
and the two feet gauge line finally opened to traffic in 1907.
Nilgiri Mountain Railway
Route: Mettupalayam - Coonor - Ooty
Coonoor is situated 6,000 feet above sea level at the southeast
corner of the Nilgiri plateau and at the head of the principal pass
from the plains. Up this Ghat runs a road 21 miles long and a rack
railway 16 ¾ miles from Mettupalaiyam in Coimbatore district.
The place was constituted a municipality in 1866. Coonoor remained
a terminus for the Nilgiri line for eight years. The extension from
Coonoor to Ootacamund was constructed by the Government of India
and the line was opened up to Fernhill on September 15, 1908, and
up to Ootacamund, a month later. Rack system was discarded for this
extension though the ruling gradient is as severe as 1 in 23. The
Ooty terminus was named Udagamandalam, the Tamil word for Ootacamund.
The Kangra Valley Railway
Route: Palampur - Pathankot - Jawalamukhi - Kangra - Joginder Nagar
No one could have thought of making a finer selection of territory
for building a new mountain railway in India than the Kangra valley.
Few places can match this scenic region in the sub-Himalayas. One
will stumble across a land that has cast its magic spell upon those
who planned the railway and those who built the line. The result
is there for all to see- an achievement that in every way makes
one proud of the fine record that the history of Indian railways
has always had.
The Darjeeling Railway
Route: New Jalpaiguri - Tindharia - Sukna - Rangtong - Chunbati
- Ghum - Darjeeling
It was a crisp winter night in the year 1878. A glorious fire crackled
on one side of the hall. The polished parquet floor of the planters
club at Tindharia resonated with choreographed footsteps. The Sahibs
(Gentlemen) and Memsahibs (Ladies) were attired in their best tails,
frills and feather hats. The gaiety of the dancers was infectious.
It was party-time.
Route: Kalka - Barog - Dharampore - Taksai - Gamma - Solan - Shimla
The idea of a railway line to Shimla dates back to the introduction
of railways in India. In the Delhi gazette, a correspondent in November
1847 sketched the route of a railway to Shimla with estimates of
the traffic returns etc. in appropriate style. He wrote: “We
might then see these cooler regions become the permanent seat of
a government daily invigorated by a temperature adapted to refresh
an European constitution and keep the mental powers in a state of
health alike beneficial both to the rulers and the ruled.”