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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

Route Statistics:

Route Length: 46 kms    Number of bridges: 250 (32 major)

Number of tunnels: 16 (Longest 317 feet)

Average gradient: 1 in 24.5   Maximum gradient: 1 in 12.5

Sharpest curve: 17.5 degrees   Total Ascent: 1870 metres (6160 feet)

Number of stations: 8 (excluding termini)

Maximum Permitted Speed:    Rack Section: 13 kmph

                        Coonoor-Ooty: 30 kmph

Journey Time:     Up Journey: 4 1/2 hours

                                    Down Journey: 3 1/2 hours


With the 'rack and pinion' system of track, special locos have to be employed. These have a corresponding gear arrangement under the chassis to mesh with the rack in the track bed. In effect, the loco literally climbs up the gradient, using the rack as a ladder. For the up journey, the loco is coupled to the rear of the train, and actually pushes the train up the inclines. While descending, the loco heads the train, keeping the train in check and preventing runaways.

The special loco employed is the 'X' class saddle-tank steam locomotive, manufactured by SLM Switzerland, with four cylinders: two high pressure cylinders for the driving wheels and two low pressure ones to drive the traction gears. This loco also employs a unique braking system consisting of friction as well as air pressure brakes.

There are eight 'X' class locos operating on the NMR. The oldest was obtained over 80 years ago.

Apart from the steam locos, a few modern diesel locomotives can also be seen in the Coonor-Ooty section,
which is laid with conventional track.


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page added April 10, 2005

  This page was last updated on December 23, 2004.

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