Heritage Steam Chariot Trust and railway staff celebrate NMR Day at Ooty Railway Station

When the Mettupalayam-Ooty train of the Nilgiri Mountain Railway (NMR) chugged into the railway station here on Tuesday, it was greeted with a great deal of enthusiasm by a motley group of people representing various walks of life.

The occasion was the celebration of NMR Day by the Heritage Steam Chariot Trust (HSCT) and railway staff.

Rajya Sabha member K.R. Arjunan who led the celebrations distributed sweets to passengers.

Speaking to The Hindu Mr.Arjunan said that the NMR is a coveted possession of the Nilgiris and added that all should join hands to preserve and promote it. He assured that he would espouse its cause with the railway ministry.

The Managing Trustee of the HSCT, K.Natarajan, said that it was on this day way back in 1908 that the internationally renowned NMR line was extended to Ooty.

Described as “a marvel of engineering skill” in the construction of railway lines, the construction of the mountain railway between Mettupalayam and Coonoor had been completed in 1899 and traffic opened on June 15,1899.

It was extended to Ooty by 1908 and thrown open to traffic on October 15,1908.

Stating that the occasion was being commemorated without fail every year, he said that the objective was to highlight the importance of the NMR which has been recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Additional coaches

The president, Public Awareness Association of Udhagamandalam, G. Janardhanan lamented that not many are aware of the NMR’s contribution in this hill station finding a place on the World Tourism Map. Toda Social Activist K.Vaasamalli Pothli said that more coaches should be added.

Station Master J.Baranidharan said that long queues at the station particularly during holidays and weekends reflects the growing popularity of the NMR. Some of the tourists said that they would remember for long their arrival by the NMR on a significant day. They hoped that the NMR would continue to thrill tourists for many more years.

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