Kerala

Green signal for heritage train hopes

The prospects of a heritage train chugging along the Munnar tea gardens has become brighter with a Budget proposal for exploring its tourism potential.

Munnar had a monorail known as Kundala Valley Light Railway launched by the British. It was totally destroyed in the devastating floods in 1924 (Great Flood 99). Though efforts were made to restore the facility, it was abandoned as the damage was irreparable.

Visitors to the KDHP (Kanan Devan Hills Plantation) Tea Museum in Munnar can see a wheel of the train in addition to pieces of the rail kept on gates of some historical buildings.

A feasibility study for relaunching the rail project was done in 2019. It was aimed to construct the railway on the lines of the Kundala Valley Light Railway in the public-private partnership mode.

An official of the District Tourism Promotion Council said it would become a prestigious itinerary for tourists to enjoy the hill station. At present, there were many heritage buildings and structures that attracted foreign tourists to the hill station. A Facets of Hundred Years of Planting, an in-house publication of Tata-Finlay Ltd, had vivid descriptions of the early life in Munnar, the railway system, and a few rare pictures of it. Though Idukki is not connected to the rail network, it was in Munnar that the British implemented one of the early editions of the light railway nearly a century ago. The train was introduced for moving tea leaves and staff of the parent company. Earlier, there was a ropeway connecting Munnar with Top Station for moving tea leaves.

The permission of Railways is needed for introducing the heritage train service for tourists. The proposal has rejuvenated hopes for a heritage railway in Munnar.

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Printable version | Mar 3, 2021 12:11:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/green-signal-for-heritage-train-hopes/article33583508.ece

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