Matheran Hill Railway

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Matheran Hill Railway
LBNGR MR740 05-09-11.jpeg
Matheran Railway No.740 preserved in the UK at Railworld in Peterborough
Locale Raigad district, Maharashtra
Terminus Neral
Commercial operations
Built by Abdul Hussein Adamjee Peerbhoy
Original gauge 2 ft (610 mm)
Preserved operations
Operated by Central Railways
Length 21 km
Preserved gauge 2 ft (610 mm)
Commercial history
Opened 1907
Preservation history
1904 Construction started
2005 Closed due to flood damage
5 March 2007 Re-opened after repair from flood damage
15 April 2007 Centenary celebration

Matheran Hill Railway is a 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge heritage railway in Maharashtra, India. The railways comes under the administration of the Central Railways. The railway covers a distance of 21 km (13.05 mi), over large swathes of forest territory connecting Neral to Matheran in the Western Ghats. UNESCO is considering giving world heritage status to matheran light railway.[1]


The Neral-Matheran Light Railway was built between 1901 and 1907 by Abdul Hussein Adamjee Peerbhoy, financed by his father, Sir Adamjee Peerbhoy at a cost of 16 lakh (US$25,000).[2] Sir Adamjee Peerbhoy visited Matheran often and wanted to build a railway to make it easier to get there. Hussain's plans for the Matheran Hill Railway were formulated in 1900 and construction started in 1904. Consulting engineer was Everard Calthrop of Barsi Light Railway fame. The line was open to traffic by 1907. Originally, the tracks were laid with 30 lb/yd (14.9 kg/m) rails but now has 42 lb/yd (20.8 kg/m) rails. Ruling gradient is 1:20 (5%) with tight curves and speeds are limited to 12 km/h (7.5 mph).

The railway was closed by flood damage during 2005 and was not expected to re-open before April 2007.[3] Contrary to those expectations, the first run on the repaired railway was on 5 March 2007.[4] The line observed its centenary on 15 April 2007.

Train services were suspended during the monsoon season from June to October[5] because of the danger of landslides. During the 2012 monsoon season, CR conducted tests of the air brakes, and after receiving approval from the Commission of Railway Safety, ran the train during the monsoon for the first time.[6] CR plans to shorten the period during which services are suspended by suspending services only from July 15 and restarting them on October 1.[7]

In November 2012, CR added a special coach called a saloon to trains operating on the line. The saloons feature cushioned sofas and LCD screens showing images from outside the train. Earlier, these saloons were available only to railway officers.[8][9]

Route description[edit]

Neral-Matheran Railway
Water Pipe[11]
Aman Lodge railway station[12]
Matheran railway station

Neral, the starting point, is about midway between Mumbai and Pune. The 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge line runs parallel to the BG line to the west of Hardal Hill and then turns east to ascend towards Matheran. The rail alignment and the roadway meet near Jumappati and meet again, after a brief separation, at Bhekra Khud. Following a small level stretch, there is a sharp ascent just before Mount Barry. A large horseshoe embankment was built to avoid a reversing station here. The line runs for a mile or so northwards around this and then turns around to take the 'One kiss Tunnel' through the embankment. Two more zig-zags through deep cuttings remain before Panorama Point is reached, and then the line bends back to Simpson's Tank and terminates at Matheran.

Neral also has a 5 ft 6 in (1,676 mm) (Indian gauge) station which is on the busy Mumbai-Pune route. It takes approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes to complete the 21 km journey. CR plans to reduce this to 1 hour 30 minutes.


Currently used diesel locomotive

Steam locomotives[edit]

Consulting engineer Everard Calthrop designed a 0-6-0T with Klein-Linder locomotives articulated coupled axles to provide a flexible wheelbase, and four were supplied by Orenstein & Koppel. They ran from the railway's opening in 1907 till 1982, when they were replaced by diesel engines. By 1983, all steam locomotives were phased out. A 'B' class loco #794 from the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway was transferred to the Neral-Matheran line in 2001 to test the feasibility of steam excursions.[1]

MHR No. ISR No. Builder Builders No. Date Current Location
1 738 O & K 1766 1905 Neral
2 739 O & K 2342 1907 Delhi
3 740 O & K 2343 1907 Statfold Barn Railway
4 741 O & K 1767 1905 Matheran

Diesel locomotives[edit]

ISR No. Class Builder Builders No. Date Current Status Notes
551 NDM1A In Service On Aman Lodge shuttle 7/3/15
500 NDM1 Jung 12108 1956 Not Known From Kalka Shimla Railway
501 NDM1 Jung 12109 1956 In Service Originally No.750
502 NDM1 Jung 12110 1956 Dismantled Originally No.751
503 NDM1 Jung 12111 1956 Dismantled Originally No.752
504 NDM1 Jung 12105 1956 Not Known From Kalka Shimla Railway
505 NDM1 Jung 12107 1956 Dismantled From Kalka Shimla Railway
505 NDM1 Jung 12107 1956 Not Known From Kalka Shimla Railway
600 NDM6 BHEL ? 1997 In Service visible in Railworld photos
603 NDM6 In Service recorded on 7mar2015 on Amanlodge shuttle

Currently Class NDM1 and NDM6 locomotives are in use.

Other Tourism Trains in India[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]