Nilgiri Mountain Railway
The Nilgiri Mountain Railway toy train is the highlight of a visit to the popular hill station of Ooty, in south India’s Tamil Nadu state. Established in the early 19th century by the British as the summer headquarters of the Chennai government, Ooty now draws tourists wanting to escape the stifling summer heat. The Nilgiri Mountain Railway toy train details including Regular train services, fares, how to book the tickets, new trains, route features etc are here.
The Nilgiri Mountain Railway is 46 kilometers (28.5 miles) long. It passes through many tunnels, and over hundreds of bridges (about 30 of them are large ones). The railway is particularly picturesque because of the surrounding rocky terrain, ravines, tea plantations, and thickly forested hills. Coonoor, with its world famous teas, is a tourist destination in itself. The most spectacular scenery and best views are situated along the stretch from Mettupalayam to Coonoor. Hence, some people prefer to only travel along this part.
How to Reach Mettupalayam
Coimbatore is the closest city to Mettupalayam. It’s located about an hour south and has an airport that receives flights from all over India.
The daily 12671 Nilagiri (Blue Mountain) Express train from Chennai arrives in Mettupalayam at 6.15 a.m. and connects with the toy train’s morning departure. (It also connects with the toy train’s evening arrival in Mettupalayam on the return journey). The Nilagiri Express stops in Coimbatore at 5 a.m. on the way, so it’s possible to take this train from there to Mettupalayam. Alternatively, a taxi will cost about 1,200 rupees ($18).
Frequent buses run from Coimbatore to Mettupalayam, starting from 5 a.m. There are also regular passenger trains between the two places during the day. You’ll find a few decent budget hotels in Mettupalayam if you want to stay there overnight to catch the toy train the next morning. However, better accommodations are available in Coimbatore.
Regular Train Services
Presently, there are 5 train services interconnecting Coimbatore and Mettupalayam that include Blue Mountain (Nilgiri) Express and 4 Passenger trains.
One toy train service operates on the Nilgiri Mountain Railway from Mettupalayam to Ooty per day. There are seven stations along the route. The timetable is as follows:
- Train No.56136/Mettupalayam-Ooty MG Passenger train leaves Mettupalayam at 7.10 a.m and arrives in Ooty at noon.
- Train No.56137/Ooty-Mettupalayam MG Passenger train leaves Ooty at 2 p.m. and reaches Mettupalayam at 5.35 p.m.
Both first class and second class seating. The main difference between the two is that first class has cushions and fewer seats. A small number of unreserved tickets is also made available for purchase at the ticket counter before departure. However, they usually sell out within minutes. A fourth carriage was added to the train in 2016, due to rapidly growing demand. The train still books up quickly though, especially in summer.
The adult train fare is 30 rupees ($0.45) in second class and 205 rupees ($3) in first class, one way. The unreserved general fare is 15 rupees ($0.15) one way.
Reservations for travel on the Nilgiri Mountain Railway can be made at Indian Railways computerized reservation counters or on the Indian Railways website. It’s advisable to book as far ahead as possible, particularly during the peak summer season from April to June, Indian festival season (especially around Diwali vacation), and Christmas. The train fills up months in advance for these times.
New Train Details on the Nilgiri Mountain
Mettupalayam, on the foothills of Nilgiris is the gateway to Nilgiri Mountain Railway. NMR, the UNESCO listed Mountain Railway System gets scores of tourist footfalls from all over the world. Coimbatore Junction, the major railhead near Mettupalayam is well connected by train services from major destinations in South India.
New Train Details on the Nilgiri Mountain are here.
Introduction of MEMU Service between Coimbatore and Mettupalayam (31.01.2020)
To handle the extra rush of passengers travelling to NMR destinations, a new MEMU service will be run between Coimbatore Junction and Mettupalayam from 01.02.2020. The details are mentioned below:
- Train No.66622 Coimbatore – Mettupalayam MEMU service (Daily) will depart from Coimbatore Junction at 20.25 hrs and with Stoppages at Coimbatore North Junction (20.31/20.32), Tudiyalur (20.36/20.37), Periyanayakanpalayam (20.41/20.42), Karaimadai (20.52/20.53) and reach Mettupalayam at 21.15 hrs the same day.
- Train No. 66623 Mettupalayam – Coimbatore MEMU service (Daily) will depart from Mettupalayam at 19.00 hrs and with Stoppages at Karaimadai (19.09/19.10), Perianayakanpalayam (19.19/19.20), Tudiyalur ( 19.24/19.25), Coimbatore North Junction (19.29/19.30) will reach Coimbatore at 19.50 hrs the same day.
Composition : 8 Car MEMU
Railway is always announcing Special Trains also especially during summer seasons.
Promoting Tourism on Nilgiri Mountain Railway – Meeting with Stake Holders
A meeting for promoting tourism on Nilgiri Mountain Railway (NMR), was conducted today at Southern Railway Head quarters in December 2019. The meeting was chaired by Shri Rajesh Agarwal, Member Roling Stock , Railway Board. Shri John Thomas, General Manager, Southern Railway ,Principal Head of the Departments of Southern Railway and ICF, Divisional Railway Manager Salem, and representatives from Travel and Tourism industry participated.
Shri Chetram Principal Chief Mechanical Engineer, Southern Railway welcomed the gathering. During the presentation Shri U. Subba Rao, Divisional Railway Manager, Salem Division said that to develop Tourism potential of Nilgiri Mountain Railway Tourists Specials are operated between Mettupalayam – Ooty , Ooty – Coonoor and Runnymede . In addition to the special trains announced interested tour groups can also book Chartered train services from Salem Division. Heritage Museum is developed at Mettupalayam, and Ooty Railway Station to attracts tourists.
In his keynote address, Shri Rajesh Agarwal, Member Roling Stock said that Indian Railways is the socio economic Life Line of the Nation. There is overwhelming interest on Heritage Mountain Railways among Tourists, especially those from Austria, Germany, Switzerland etc.,
The station in NMR is a place of attraction blessed with natural beauty around stations can be developed as tourist destinations. He appealed the participants from Travel and Tourism Industry to work like a partner in promoting heritage tourism. Year 2020 – 21 is to be dedicated to reinvent the opportunities of tourism on NMR.
Shri John Thomas, Southern Railway thanked the participants for their interest in NMR. He advised them to keep up the enthusiasm to make NMR as an earning railway utilizing the facilities provided.