The Nilgiri Mountain Railways (NMR) is all set to introduce summer special services on weekends from this Saturday. Titled Heritage Steam Voyage, the train services would be operated between Mettupalayam and Coonoor, a stretch of 30km, on all Saturdays and Sundays, starting March 31 to June 24.
The summer special train would feature two first class coaches and one second class chair car coach. The fully reserved train would start from Mettupalayam at 9.10am and reach Coonoor at 12.30pm, with stoppages at Kallar and Hillgrove. The train would then depart from Coonoor at 1.30pm and reach Mettupalayam at 4.20pm. During the return journey too, the train would stop at Kallar and Hillgrove.
The total seating capacity of the special train would be 132, including 32 first class seats.
Until 2012, summer special train services in NMR section were available between April 15 and June 15. But after 2012, it was cancelled for reasons unknown.
Meanwhile, members of the Heritage Steam Chariot Trust said the condition of the loco shed at Mettupalayam railway station was a cause of concern and urged authorities to take steps to repair the same to avoid any untoward incident.
“A dilapidated loco shed in the Mettupalayam railway station is a disgrace to the NMR heritage site. It is high time that the railway authorities took up the issue immediately,” K Natarajan, managing trustee, Heritage Steam Chariot Trust, said.
Harishankar Varma, divisional regional manager, Southern Railways (Salem Division), said the loco shed has a huge crack on one side of the wall. “I have passed an order to renovate the structure, but only half the portion. The remaining will be demolished and constructed anew. A plaque will also be installed there to depict its heritage value,” he said.