COIMBATORE: A group of 17 tourists from the United Kingdom (UK) enjoyed a chartered train trip between Mettupalayam and Coonoor on the Nilgiri Mountain Railway (NMR) on Saturday. They rented the train by paying Rs 3.60 lakh, including GST, to the Salem Railway division through a private agent and travelled 28km amidst the tough mountainous terrain of Western Ghats.
The oil-fired steam engine train (37399) commenced from Mettupalayalam at 10 am on Saturday and reached 1.15 pm at Coonoor. Subsequently, the tourist travelled to Ooty on a diesel train from Coonoor. Sources in the railway said that this is the first charter trip in NMR this year. The last journey was on December 12.
Meanwhile, train enthusiasts demand the railway to operate the steam engine up to Ooty from Mettupalayam. K Natarajan founder of Nilgiris Heritage Steam Chariot Trust said “The charter train should be operated up to Ooty with a reduced fare as Rs 3.60 lakh is not affordable to all. So, more tourists will enjoy a hassle-free journey in NMR. Also, Salem Railway Division officials should start awareness initiatives to attract more people to such trips.”