mountain railway, narrow gauge trains, railroad photos, pictures of trains, steam locomotives, old trains, caboose,
 steam engine, museum, freight train yard

Bridgeport, New Haven CT Connecticut
Nilgiri Mountain Railway, India
pictures and text courtesy of Prabir Mundalir
This page is part of the Living Pictures online photo magazine
Article page 1     Article page 2       Article page 3
More photos of Nilgiri Mountain Railway

HISTORY

Madras was a major port and southern foothold of the British from the days of the East India Company. Its generally oppressive climate, however, can become unbearable during the hot summer months, and the tender-skinned British officers posted there desperately sought cooler places to escape from the sweltering height of summer.

One of the more adventurous of them, a John Sullivan, located a site in the Nilgiris (literally,' Blue Mountains') on the eastern slopes of the Western Ghats, where the climate closely resembled that of his home country. He built his summer house there in 1820. More of his compatriots followed his example, and the place was soon established as a summer retreat. The original name of the place was Udagamandalam, which the British with characteristic officiousness pronounced and spelt as "Ootacamund". This was later commonly shortened to "Ooty".

The only modes of transport available at the time were horses and ponies and bullock carts. A road was built, which was difficult to negotiate at the best of times, on account of deep gorges and ravines and steep mountainsides, and practically impassable when it rained. The idea of a railway was first proposed in 1854. The Swiss engineer Riggenbach (who invented the Rigi system of mountain railway) arrived in 1882 to undertake the project, but for some reason the deal fell through.

The work was ultimately begun in 1891 by the Nilgiri Railway Company. Manpower was provided by the men of the Madras Army.

A track gauge of one metre - just under three feet - was chosen (the gauge commonly used in India is 5 feet 6 inches - the Broad Gauge, although the Metre Gauge is still found in places).

The route became operational in stages between 1899 (terminating at Coonoor) and 1908 (extended to Ooty).

THE ROUTE

The starting point of the Mountain Railway is Mettupalayam in the foothills, elevation 330 metres (1070 feet) above sea level. For the first five miles the going is easy, on more or less level terrain until Kallar, where the climb begins. The ascent hereon is so steep (steepest in Asia - average gradient 1 in 24.5, with a maximum of 1 in 12.5) and winding (curves up to 17.5 degrees) that a special Swiss type "rack and pinion" arrangement down the middle of the track was employed to keep the trains from rolling back downhill. This special track was laid for a stretch of around 20 kms up to Coonoor at 6000 feet, comprising the most difficult part of the route, which was completed and opened in 1899. The remaining portion to Ooty is comparatively less severe, so it was decided that conventional track would suffice. After nine years with Coonoor as its terminus, the extension was finally completed and commissioned in 1908, and Ootacamund at 2200 metres (7228 feet) became the final terminus of the Nilgiri Mountain Railway.

Apart from the prospect of the enjoyment of an ideal climate at the destination, a major attraction for tourists is the great scenery enroute - verdant hillsides, deep ravines, river gorges, waterfalls (some so close you have to pull the shutters down to keep from getting wet), trestle bridges so narrow you have the scary feeling your train is suddenly hovering in the air over the earth far far below you, and the occasional wild elephant (Some say they have spotted tigers and mountain lions, though I wouldn't bet on that).

 

More photos of Nilgiri Railway

More train photos and new pages coming soon....
Shop for books about trains

 

 
     


Link to South Florida's
Tri-Rail!

 



Subways

 

 

 

 

 

 

This site Internet

travel links
Master links directory
Order a picture

PHOTO CD'S  aerial photography
Amazing mysteries
Amish buggies  antique cars 
automobiles for sale
autumn   Aviation photos  beaches   
 boating    bridges   Catskills
    Central Park  Country life  farms
flight school    homes    Hudson Valley
Hardwar  India   landscape photos   Mexico
Millerton, NY    Moon  Mussoorie   Nature
New York City   New Paltz, NY
Picture trails game  postcards     skiing
sky & earth -- sunsets and sunrises
 NYC subway    Times Square
trains   travel   trucks
  Upper West Side   
Venezuela   weird stuff from wherever
winter    Woodstock, NY

 

www.mikail.karoo.net/railpage.htm --
 British rail photos     
www.trains.com - resources
www.ribbonrail.com  -- railroad historical site 

www.trainweb.com
www.allenkeller.com
- model railroad videos
www.modelrailroads.net -
links to great layouts with photos

Model railroad links below, separate  page coming....
subway graffiti--New York city
www.nycrail.com  NYC subway site
Penn Central locomotive photos
http://www.yesteryeardepot.com/newyrkc.htm

NY Central steam locomotives

South Florida Tri-Rail


www.tedvernon.com
Buy this fully working train with tires!
Ted Vernon Specialty Automobiles....Find something you've never seen anywhere else.

 1940's steam engine train  Old locomotives, roundhouse, Catskills, Scranton, New Haven, Phoenecia, Arkville, New York, train pictures, train photos
Hit Counter
page added April 10, 2005

  This page was last updated on December 23, 2004.

pet photographer NYC, New York City, child portrait photographer, infant child photographer Hudson Valley, resources reviews links, stock photography, NYC, education entertainment pets, children, humor, internet advertising, Living Pictures online photo magazine, Pet Celebrity transformative imagery, advertise on this site   contents  NY  photographer New York City, NYC dreams, Carl Jung, life images photos, art, creative imagination, art therapy, music, creativity, healing pictures pictures for sale
style and content copyright Paul Smyres, 2000. all rights reserved
Paul Smyres,

Advertise, balloon, cow, deer, Evan, fawn, give, heart, idea, joke, kiss, live, mail, now, open, photographer, quail, rustic, shell, toy, universal, value, winter, young, zany

Alley, Cincinatti Brooklyn Bridge, New York City
Biographical info
Search this site:

Travel links
Free postcard
New stuff
Camera reviews
Navigation help
About this site

Merritt Parkway, Connecticut
Your comments on this site
Old railroad bridge, Coburn, PA -- click to go there

Above images part of Picture trails feature        services  

    Reserve a subdirectory for your business
Buy a picture

  Search this site     Table of Contents       Master links directory