Train services resume on Ooty-Coonoor section

Efforts on to get Mettupalayam-Coonoor stretch ready by May 15

The total restoration cost is expected to work out to Rs.15 crore

BACK ON TRACK: Southern Railway General Manager Deepak Krishan signalling the resumption of train services in Coonoor on Tuesday. — Photo: M. Sathyamoorthy

Two steam engines costing Rs.6 crore each will be manufactured at Golden Rock Workshop

Udhagamandalam: The Ooty-Coonoor section of the Nilgiri Mountain Railway (NMR) was thrown open for train services on Tuesday.

Services on the section and between Coonoor and Mettupalayam were cancelled two months ago after landslips, triggered by heavy rain, damaged the track.

With temporary restoration works having been completed, the first train was flagged off at Coonoor by General Manager, Southern Railway, Deepak Krishan.

Earlier speaking to presspersons, Mr. Krishan said that without disturbing the services permanent repair works would be carried out on the section.

Stating that there would be four pairs of services, he said that on Mondays there would be only two pairs to facilitate maintenance of track and rolling stock.

He said that while repairing a badly damaged bridge near Aruvankadu the engineers had taken precautionary measures to ensure that the spot would not suffer major damage even in very heavy rain.

Mr. Krishan said that efforts were on to get the Mettupalayam-Coonoor section ready by May 15. He pointed out that the damage was more on that section. The total restoration cost was expected to work out to Rs.15 crore.

Asked about the proposal to provide new steam engines for the NMR, he said the possibility of floating global tenders was explored. However, since the cost of each engine was expected to work out to Rs. 20 crore, it was decided to manufacture them at the Golden Rock Workshop at Trichy.

To begin with, two steam engines costing Rs.6 crore each would be manufactured. They would be ready in two years. Later, two more engines would be added.

Asked whether the NMR could be delinked from Southern Railway and made an autonomous body, Mr. Krishan opined that its maintenance and operation should continue to be the concern of Southern Railway. However, the possibility of involving the private sector in some of the commercial activities associated with the NMR could be considered.

Due importance was being given to the heritage status of the NMR.

Asked whether any of the closed stations would be re-opened, he said that it would be examined. Automatic ticket vending machines would be introduced in the NMR as early as possible.



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