To go to Ooty by train one has to travel by Meter gauge train running between Mettupalayam and Udhagamandalam ( Ooty ). It is also called as toy train and kids enjoy the most in this five hour journey. This place is popular as entry point to Ooty by road and train from plains of Tamilnadu state. Other commonly used way to enter Ooty is from Mysore in Karnataka state by road. Mettupalayam is located at the foot of Nilgiri range of hills. Mettupalayam is well connected by rail and road network. You can get direct train to Mettupalayam ( Indian railway station code MTP ) or you can board a train upto COIMBATORE Junction ( Indian railway station code CBE ). Flights are available to Coimbatore from Chennai, Mumbai and other important places. Visit Indian airlines site for detail flight info. . From Coimbatore to Mettupalayam is one hour drive by road.
We left Chennai at 9 PM by 2671 Nilgiri Express train and reached Mettupalayam at early morning. It was a cool morning at Mettupalayam. The other side of the platform is meter gauge track for Nilgiri Passenger, so after a few minutes walk with our luggage's we were ready to board the toy train to Ooty.
Nilgiri Passenger ( Train number: 662 MTP UAM PASSR ) is a small train with few compartments runs on a meter gauge track. NMR ( Nilgiri Mountain Railway ) operates this train. NMR started this project in 1882 and completed in 1899. This train connects Mettupalayam at 326 meter to One steam engine pushes the train from the back. After a long time we got a chance to see and travel in a train using steam engine. As the engine is at the back the fast class compartments are kept at the front. The front is open and the travelers at the first compartment can fill like a bus driver sitting at front and driving the vehicle. There is a locking arrangement to hold the train on stiff slopes. Between two tracks this crank link runs in all the sloppy areas of the track. This rack and pinion arrangement designed by Mr Riggenback a Swiss engineer in the year1876. This locking system to stop the train in slopes and preventing it from sliding down is kept in all compartments and one person is deployed to lock and unlock it as and when required.
In rush seasons (summer holiday time) book your advance ticket as there are few unreserved seats and those will be full in no time. You can book your ticket or check availability at Indian railway booking site at http://www.irctc.co.in All the doors of each and every compartment have to be closed before the train starts. Railway officers were very busy in closing doors and giving final green signal to the driver ( at the back ) to start the train. Our train left Mettupalayam at 7.30 AM behind schedule by 20 minutes due to heavy rush of tourist traveling to Ooty.
Next let us join for a journey to Ooty by Toy train from Mettupalayam Nilgiri passenger.