new Delhi : If all goes as expected, the toy train on the Matheran Hill Railway, which is included in the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, will be seen running completely again by the end of this year. The reconstruction work of the Heritage Narrow-Gauge Matheran Line was halted due to heavy rains and damage due to Cyclone Nisarga in 2020, but now it is expected to be completed by the end of this year. After getting the funds in the Railway Budget, the work has accelerated here. Around 60 employees are working continuously (between 9 to 5 hrs) to complete the project on time. At present, on an average, 200 sleepers and rails (girders) are being changed every day.
As reported by noon in December 2021, the Matheran Railway is being rebuilt and Rs 5 crore has been earmarked for the project. Shivaji Sutar, Chief Public Relations Officer of Central Railway said that by May 2022, a target has been set to complete the construction of barricades and the construction of walls before the monsoon. The track laying work is in progress and it will be completed for 20 km stretch by December 2022. As expected, once all the work is done, we will be able to start this line. According to him, “Around 37,500 concrete sleepers are required for the narrow gauge line. In addition to the sleepers, about 800 meters of retaining walls, 1,300 meters of gabion walls are being constructed and the approach is being strengthened.
In fact, the existing line is a mix of old iron, steel and wooden sleepers from the old Great Indian Peninsula Railway and is now being upgraded with concrete sleepers. These sleepers are specially made at Khurda Rail Factory in Madhya Pradesh and are being transported on site. This line was extensively damaged in monsoon and has been closed since June 2019. Presently a small section between Aman Lodge and Matheran was restored in December 2019.
This most beautiful hill station of Maharashtra is situated near Mumbai..!
After the completion of the work, the toy train services between Neral and Aman Lodge in Matheran Hill Railway will be back on track by the end of 2022. Presently there are Toy Train services (Aman Lodge to Matheran Toy Train) running between Aman Lodge and Matheran (distance of approx 2 km). The service between Neral and Aman Lodge was suspended in 2019 to carry out various security tasks.
Matheran Railway is a 2 feet narrow-gauge heritage railway. It connects Neral with Matheran, covering a distance of 21 km through the forest in the Western Ghats. This heritage railway includes Neral, Jumapatti, Water Pipes (used to fill steam locomotives), Aman Lodge and Matheran stations.
The toy train is a major mode of transport for the local people of Matheran as well as a popular tourist service. Local residents say the suspension of toy train services between Neral and Aman Lodge has severely affected the business of hundreds of families, which depend on Matheran’s tourism activities.
Here people as well as tourists are eagerly waiting for the opening of the entire section of Matheran, as this will not only increase the income of the local people, but will also facilitate daily commute. According to statistics, at present, Matheran receives 6 to 7000 tourists on weekends and 1200 to 1500 tourists on weekdays. When toy train services were available between Neral-Matheran (entire section), this number was around 50 per cent higher.
Tags: Central Railway, Indian Railways, Indian Railways
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