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 the Matheran Hill Railway.[1]

The trains on Matheran Hill Railway route are not running at present.


Inscription on founders of Matheran Hill Railway

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 reopen 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 15 July and restarting them on 1 October.[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.

It takes approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes to complete the 21 km journey. CR plans to reduce this to 1 hour 30 minutes.

Neral also has a 5 ft 6 in (1,676 mm) (Indian gauge) station which is on the busy Mumbai-Pune route.


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] In 2013, it was sent to Golden Rock workshops to be converted to oil firing and returned to Neral soon after.[13]

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 South Tynedale Railway
4 741 O & K 1767 1905 Matheran
794 Baldwin 44914 1917 Neral

Diesel locomotives[edit]

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

ISR No. Class Builder Builders No. Date Current Status Notes
400 NDM1 Indian Railways, Parel Works, Mumbai 2016 Delivered from Parel, January 2016 In Neral shed awaiting commissioning, 1 April 2016
500 NDM1 Jung 12108 1956 Withdrawn. Not present 1 April 2016. Originally No.700 from Kalka Shimla Railway.
501 NDM1 Jung 12109 1956; rebuilt at Parel 2002 In Service Originally No.750
502 NDM1 Jung 12110 1956 Dismantled for repairs at Neral 1 April 2016. Originally No.751
503 NDM1 Jung 12111 1956 Withdrawn. Not present 1 April 2016. Originally No.752.
504 NDM1 Jung 12105 1956 Withdrawn. Not present 1 April 2016. Originally No.701 from Kalka Shimla Railway.
505 NDM1 Jung 12107 1956 Withdrawn. Not present 1 April 2016. Originally No.703 from Kalka Shimla Railway.
506 NDM1 Jung 12106 1956 Withdrawn. Not present 1 April 2016. Originally No.702 from Kalka Shimla Railway.
550 NDM1A Indian Railways, Parel Works, Mumbai 2006 In Service On Aman Lodge shuttle 7/3/15
551 NDM1A 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

Other tourism trains in India[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "It’s train, It’s toy, It’s beautiful commute". 2 October 2012. Retrieved 6 March 2016. 
  2. ^ Kartik Mistry (2016-02-20), Inscription near bungalow of founders of Matheran Light Rail on the way to Monkey Point, Matheran., retrieved 2016-03-08 
  3. ^ Why you still can’t take the toy train to Matheran
  4. ^ "Uphill Journey Resumes". 5 March 2007. Retrieved 6 March 2016. 
  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". Retrieved 2016-03-08. 
  8. ^ "CR makes uphill task enjoyable – Indian Express". Retrieved 2016-03-08. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ Fernandes, Felix (2011-05-01). "Matheran toy train service disrupted". Mumbai Mirror. Retrieved 8 July 2013. 
  11. ^ Verma, Kalpana (2009-02-09). "Toy train rams into tractor on Matheran-Neral route". Indian Express. Retrieved 8 July 2013. 
  12. ^ 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. 
  13. ^ Verma, Kalpana (2013-06-03). "Steam locomotive set to return on Neral–Matheran route". The Indian EXPRESS. Retrieved 2 May 2016. 

External links[edit]