The loss on the Nilgiri Mountain Railway (NMR) line caused by the recent heavy rains and landslips is estimated to be rupees 12 crores. Stating this to journalists at Coonoor on Sunday, the General Manager, Southern Railway M.S.Jayanth said that the figure may have to be revised upwards.
Pointing out that out of the total distance of 46 kilometres the track and other railway property including buildings and quarters over about thirty six had suffered damages, he said that about sixty six bridges had been damaged. Landslides have occurred at about 170 places and trees have fallen across the track at over twenty places. About 30,000 cubic metre of mud had fallen on the track.
Adverting to the suspension of services over the years due to heavy rains, he said that the recent rains were the heaviest and the damage caused was very heavy. A temporary office of the Salem Railway Division has been opened at Coonoor to oversee repair and restoration works.
While the Ooty-Coonoor section is likely to be thrown open within about two months opening of the Coonoor-Mettupalayam section will take several months. Efforts will be made to get it ready by the 2010 summer tourist season.
Replying to a query, Mr.Jayanth said that in view of the tourist importance of this hill station Automatic Vending Machines will be provided in Ooty and Coonoor by next year. Experiments with two engines will continue after the rack and pinion system is repaired.
The possibility of extending the Cheran Express to Mettupalayam will be explored.
Earlier Mr.Jayanth accompanied by senior Southern Railway officials including the Divisional Railway Manager, Salem P.N.Ram inspected some of the affected areas.