Udhagamandalam: Southern Railway's decision to run a summer special between Mettupalayam and Ooty has come as a boon for tourists at a time when seats in the Mettupalayam-Ooty passenger have been booked till May-end.
The special will run from April 16 to June 30. Arrangements are being made to issue the tickets in advance.
Ooty Station Master T. Ravindranathan told The Hindu here on Saturday that it would, to a considerable extent, reduce pressure on the main train. With tourist inflow steadily increasing, the demand for a ride on the `toy train' was also rising.
The special train will leave Mettupalayam at 10 a.m. and reach Coonoor at 1.25 p.m. It will leave Coonoor at 1.35 p.m. and reach Ooty at 2.50 p.m.
In the return direction the train will leave Ooty at 12.15 p.m. and reach Coonoor at 1.20 p.m. It will leave Coonoor at 1.30 p.m. and reach Mettupalayam at 3.50 p.m.
Welcoming the decision, K. Natrajan of the Heritage Steam Chariot Trust said it showed the growing popularity of the Nilgiris Mountain Railway. Pointing out that most tourists travelled by the NMR only to get a feel of it, he said short-distance journey should also be made possible. If the Runneymede station below Coonoor were re-opened it would serve the purpose and also provide an eyeful to visitors, as it was one of the most scenic spots in the Nilgiris.