Train services between Coonoor and Mettupalayam have been partially cancelled till Tuesday.
Torrential rain accompanied by thunder and lightning during the wee hours of Sunday dislodged boulders on the hills running along Coonoor-Mettupalayam section of the Nilgiri Mountain Railway (NMR) and the National Highway 67. Boulders came onto the railway track, forcing the authorities to cancel the NMR services. Consequently train services were hit on the section.
Railway sources told The Hindu that boulders fell on the track near the Adderlie station and a landslide had occurred near Kallar. As a result train services between Coonoor and Mettupalayam have been partially cancelled till Tuesday. However, trains would run as usual between Coonoor and Udhagamandalam.
Though the hostile weather and natural calamities had led to the suspension of services, it disappointed a number of tourists, including foreigners who had landed at Mettupalayam early on Sunday by the Nilgiri express.
With boulders falling at a number of places particularly below Burliar on the Mettupalayam-Coonoor ghat road, motorists had to exercise more caution than usual.
Murugan, a driver, said that a falling boulder had nearly hit his car while he was proceeding to Mettupalayam just before dawn.
Sources in the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) said that vehicles heading towards Kotagiri from Mettupalayam had to be diverted via Burliar and Coonoor as a make shift road near a bridge under renovation near Ramasamy Nagar closer to the Forest college had been washed away by the rain. Construction had neared only 75 per cent of the works.
Highways authorities are on the job to restore the make shift way for resuming the traffic on Mettupalayam — Koatigiri road. They also added that work on strengthening the temporary bridge had commenced. It will be used till a permanent bridge was constructed.
Official sources said that two houses had been partially damaged at Denad and Kengarai in Kotagiri taluk. Though the rain subjected the people in some parts of Coonoor to inconvenience, it was greeted with cheer by all sections of society as the town continues to be in the grip of a severe water shortage, said a resident. During the 24 hour period ending 8.30 a.m. on Sunday — Burliar recorded 78 mm of rainfall, Coonoor 53, Kotagiri 21 and Kodanad 21.
In Coimbatore city, six people travelling in different cars had a lucky escape after their vehicles got caught in surging waters at Sanganur canal caused by heavy rain that lashed Coimbatore during the early hours of Sunday.
According to the police, the rain resulted in water accumulating for below the railway bridge at Ho Chi Min Nagar near Sivananda Colony. A car driven by Perumalsamy, a resident of Irugur, got struck under the bridge as the engine seized up due to the water.
Upon opening the door, Perumalsamy found himself struck in the water. After a struggle, he swam to safety. Similarly, Gowthaman, a call tax driver, was taking four devotees returning from Sabarimala. The car got caught near Sivananda Colony. They also escaped by opening the car doors and swimming to safety. Fire Safety and Rescue Services officials rushed to the spot and removed the car.
Keywords: Nilgiris heavy railfall, Coonoor-Mettupalayam railway, Nilgiri Mountain Railway, NMR services stopped, National Highway 67 blocked, Coimbatore rain damage, Adderlie station, Kallar landslide