One of the oldest railways in the country, Nilgiri railway tracks run at height of over 1000 feet. Laid in 1899, the track still takes passengers through intriguing mountain regions near the Western Ghats. The ride through these areas could be a heavenly experience with the sight of flowers which carpet either sides of the track. The lush green forests which sprawl below the ride destination could provide one with an occasional sight of wildlife.
The Nilgiri Mountain Railway is a railway in Tamil Nadu, India, built by the British in 1908, and was initially operated by the Madras Railway. The railway still relies on its fleet of steam locomotives. NMR comes under the jurisdiction of the newly formed Salem Division. In July 2005, UNESCO added the Nilgiri Mountain Railway as an extension to the World Heritage Site of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, the site then became known as "Mountain Railways of India." After it satisfied the necessary criteria, thus forcing abandonment of the modernisation plans. For the past several years diesel locomotives have taken over from steam on the section between Coonoor and Udhagamandalam. Local people and tourists have led a demand for steam locos to once again haul this section. The famous Hindi song "Chaiyya Chaiyya" from the film "Dil Se" featuring Shahrukh Khan was shot on the roof top of NMR.
The 'Nilagiri Passenger' train covers a distance of 26 mi (41.8 km), travels through 208 curves, 16 tunnels, and 250 bridges. The uphill journey takes around 290 minutes (4.8 hours), and the downhill journey takes 215 minutes (3.6 hours) It has the steepest track in Asia with a maximum gradient of 8.33%.
Mettupalayam(Coimbatore) - 0 km (0 mi), 1,069 ft (325.8 m) above sea level - Junction with the 5 ft 6 in (1,676 mm) (Indian Gauge) line from Coimbatore city railway station. Passengers cross the platform to board the Nilagiri Passenger train (NMR). There is a small locomotive shed here and also the carriage workshops for the line.
Leaving Mettupalayum, the line is adhesion worked and actually drops for a short distance before crossing the Bhavani River, after which it starts to climb gently.
Kallar - 8 km (5 mi), 1,260 ft (384 m) - Closed as a passenger station, this is where the rack rail begins. As the train leaves the station, the gradient is 1 in 12 (8.33%).
Adderly - 13 km (8.1 mi), 2,390 ft (728.5 m) - Closed as a passenger station but is still a water stop.
Hillgrove - 18 km (11.2 mi), 3,580 ft (1,091.2 m) - Block post and water stop, also has refreshments for passengers.
Runneymede - 21 km (13 mi), 4,612 ft (1,405.7 m) - Closed as a passenger station but is still a water stop.
Kateri Road Station:
Kateri Road - 25 km (15.5 mi), 5,070 ft (1,545.3 m) - Closed as a passenger station, trains do not stop here.
Coonoor - 28 km (17.4 mi), 5,616 ft (1,711.8 m) - main intermediate station on the line at site of the locomotive workshops as well as the top end of the rack rail. Trains must reverse a short distance before continuing their climb to Ooty. It is normal for the locomotive to be changed here with diesel traction, being normal for all trains to Ooty.
Wellington - 29 km (18 mi), 5,804 ft (1,769.1 m)
Aruvankadu - 32 km (19.9 mi), 6,144 ft (1,872.7 m)
Ketti - 38 km (23.6 mi), 6,864 ft (2,092.1 m)
The Nilgiri Passenger at Ketti Railway Station
Lovedale - 42 km (26.1 mi), 7,000 ft (2,133.6 m)
Lovedale railway station
From a short distance before Lovedale, the line descends into Ooty.
Ooty - 46 km (28.6 mi), 7,228 ft (2,203.1 m).