Matheran Hill Railway

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Matheran Hill Railway
Train to Matheran.JPG
MHR train
Terminus Matheran
Commercial operations
Built by Adamjee Peerbhoy
Preserved operations
Operated by Central Railways
Length 21 km
Preserved gauge 2 ft (610 mm)
Commercial history
Opened 1907
Preservation history
Headquarters Neral

The Matheran Hill Railway (MHR) is a 2 ft (610 mm) narrow-gauge heritage railway in Maharashtra, India, which is administered by the Central Railway. It covers a distance of 21 km (13.05 mi), cutting a swathe through forest and connecting Neral to Matheran in the Western Ghats. The MHR is on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.[1]

History[edit]

The Neral–Matheran Light Railway was built between 1901 and 1907 by Abdul Hussein Adamjee Peerbhoy and financed by his father, Sir Adamjee Peerbhoy, at a cost of $160000.[2] 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 began in 1904. The consulting engineer was Everard Calthrop. The line was open to traffic by 1907. Its tracks were originally 30 lb/yd (14.9 kg/m) rails, but were upgraded to 42 lb/yd (20.8 kg/m) rails. The ruling gradient is 1:20 (five percent), with tight curves, and speed is limited to 12 km/h (7.5 mph).

The railway was closed due to flood damage in 2005, and was not expected to reopen before April 2007.[3] However, the first run on the repaired railway was on 5 March 2007.[4] The line observed its centenary on 15 April of that year. Service had been suspended during the monsoon season (from June to October)[5] because of the danger of landslides. During the 2012 monsoon season, Central Railway (CR) tested the railway's air brakes and, after approval from the Commission of Railway Safety, ran the train during the monsoon for the first time.[6] CR planned to shorten the monsoon service suspension to 15 July – 1 October.[7]

In November 2012, CR added a special coach (known as a saloon) to trains operating on the line. The saloons have sofas and LCD screens showing images from outside the train. The saloons had been available only to railway officers.[8][9]

Operator[edit]

The MHR and its assets, including the stations, line and vehicles, belong to the government of India and are entrusted to the Ministry of Railways. Central Railway handles day-to-day maintenance and management, and several programs, divisions and departments of Indian Railways are responsible for repairs.

Rolling stock[edit]

Steam locomotives[edit]

Blu-and-white locomotive on a pedestal
Steam locomotive on display at the Matheran station

Consulting engineer Everard Calthrop designed a 0-6-0T, with Klien-Lindner axles for a flexible wheelbase, and four were supplied by Orenstein & Koppel. They ran from the railway's opening in 1907 until 1982, when they were replaced by diesel engines. By 1983, all steam locomotives were phased out. A B-class locomotive (#794) from the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway was transferred to the Neral–Matheran line in 2001 to test the feasibility of steam excursions.[1] It was sent to the Golden Rock workshops for conversion to oil firing in 2013, and returned to Neral soon afterwards.[10]

MHR No. ISR No. Builder Builder No. Date Location
1 738 O & K 1766 1905 Neral
2 739 O & K 2342 1907 Delhi
3 740 O & K 2343 1907 South Tynedale Railway
4 741 O & K 1767 1905 Matheran
794 Baldwin 44914 1917 Neral

Diesel locomotives[edit]

Yellow diesel locomotive
NDM1A diesel locomotive

Because of the line's sharp curves, only short-wheelbase four-wheel diesel units can be used; Class NDM1 and NDM6 locomotives are in use. Class NDM1 has two powered units, articulated with a central cab and initially developed by German builder Arn Jung. The non-articulated Class NDM6 was manufactured by the Bangalore builders SAN.

ISR No. Class Builder Builder No. Date Status Notes
400 NDM-1 Indian Railways, Parel Works, Mumbai 2016 Delivered from Parel January 2016 In Neral shed awaiting commissioning, 1 April 2016
500 NDM-1 Jung 12108 1956 Withdrawn Originally No. 700 from Kalka-Shimla Railway
501 NDM-1 Jung 12109 1956; rebuilt at Parel 2002 In service Originally No. 750
502 NDM-1 Jung 12110 1956 Dismantled for repairs at Neral 1 April 2016 Originally No. 751
503 NDM-1 Jung 12111 1956 Withdrawn Originally No. 752
504 NDM-1 Jung 12105 1956 Withdrawn Originally No. 701 from Kalka-Shimla Railway
505 NDM-1 Jung 12107 1956 Withdrawn Originally No. 703 from Kalka-Shimla Railway
506 NDM-1 Jung 12106 1956 Withdrawn Originally No. 702 from Kalka-Shimla Railway
550 NDM-1A Indian Railways, Parel Works, Mumbai 2006 In service On Aman Lodge shuttle 7/3/15
551 NDM-1A Indian Railways, Parel Works, Mumbai 2006 In service On Aman Lodge shuttle 7/3/15
600 NDM6 SAN 559 1997 In service Repairs at Neral 1 April 2016
603 NDM6 SAN 568 1998 In service Recorded on 7 March 2015 on Aman Lodge shuttle

Route[edit]

Matheran
Hill Railway
Neral Indian Railways Suburban Railway Logo.svg
Jummapatti[11]
Water Pipe[12]
Aman Lodge[13]
Matheran

Neral, the starting point, is near Mumbai. The 2 ft (610 mm) narrow-gauge line runs parallel to the broad-gauge line west of Hardal Hill before turning east to ascend towards Matheran. The rail and road meet near Jummapatti, and meet again after a brief separation at Bhekra Khud. After a short 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 before turning 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 ends at Matheran. It takes about two hours and 20 minutes to complete the 21-kilometre (13 mi) journey, although CR plans to reduce this to one hour 30 minutes.

Stations[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "It's train, It's toy, It's beautiful commute". 2 October 2012. Retrieved 6 March 2016. 
  2. ^ See inscription at Commons image.
  3. ^ Why you still can’t take the toy train to Matheran[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "Uphill Journey Resumes". 5 March 2007. Retrieved 6 March 2016. [permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Central Railway seeks fresh nod to run Matheran toy train in rains – The Times of India". The Times Of India. 21 September 2012. Retrieved 6 March 2016. 
  6. ^ "Matheran train ran in rains after 100 years | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis". dna. Retrieved 2016-03-08. 
  7. ^ "Aman Lodge–Matheran Station toy trains start today – Indian Express". www.indianexpress.com. Retrieved 2016-03-08. 
  8. ^ "CR makes uphill task enjoyable – Indian Express". www.indianexpress.com. Retrieved 2016-03-08. 
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  10. ^ Verma, Kalpana (2013-06-03). "Steam locomotive set to return on Neral–Matheran route". The Indian EXPRESS. Retrieved 2 May 2016. 
  11. ^ Fernandes, Felix (2011-05-01). "Matheran toy train service disrupted". Mumbai Mirror. Retrieved 8 July 2013. 
  12. ^ Verma, Kalpana (2009-02-09). "Toy train rams into tractor on Matheran-Neral route". Indian Express. Retrieved 8 July 2013. 
  13. ^ Mehta, Manthan K (2013-06-30). "Central Railway to run shuttle service between Aman Lodge and Matheran in monsoon". The Times of India. Retrieved 8 July 2013. 

External links[edit]