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After 18 months, Matheran toy train set to chug along today

Railway carries out repair works, final checks of tracks, signalling systems over the weekend; train will not cover the entire 21-km stretch, but run for only 3 km

mumbai toy train, matheran toy train, Matheran-Aman Lodge toy train service, mumbai tourism, mumbai heritage toy train,  The services of the century-old toy train were suspended in May last year after successive derailments of the train.

AFTER staying off tracks for 18 months, the famous toy train to Matheran, a small hill station in the Western ghats, will get the green signal on Monday. The train services, covering 21 km-long distance between Neral and Matheran within two hours, had been suspended on May 9 last year, following two incidents of derailments.

Central Railway, which is in charge of the maintenance and operations of this train, has during the last few weeks carried out necessary repair works, final checks of tracks, signalling systems and other tests during the weekend. However, the current resuming of services is only partial. The train will not cover the entire 21-km stretch, but run for only three kilometre.

The locals here have openly expressed their displeasure with both the railways and with the working of Matheran Municipal Council (MCC), which have taken so long to get the diesel locomotive back in operations. “This is the longest period ever in the history of the train that it has remained non-operational. This is because of the sheer neglect of the council authorities and the railways,” said Shailesh Dabhekar, a resident of Matheran.

Started in 1907, locals here do not recall any time when the services had remained suspended. They had even taken up this matter with former railways minister Suresh Prabhu, but nothing concrete evolved. “We were so sick of this attitude that it was collectively decided that we take the matter in our hands and stage a mega ‘rail-roko’ on November 1,” added Dabhekar.

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Succumbing to this final resort taken by the villagers, a final trial test trip was taken on Sunday, which got all necessary clearances to resume the operations starting Monday. “We have completed the necessary works and the train operations between Aman Lodge and Matheran will be operational,” said Dharmendra Kumar, deputy station manager of Neral, where the journey commences.

Located at a height of 800 meters above sea level, toy train is one of main modes of reaching the hill station. Its absence was greatly felt during the last many months, both by locals and incoming tourists, mostly from Mumbai and Pune.

Jay Shinde, a local hotelier, said: “Despite several attempts to bring the problems to the fore, nothing improved. Our business has been hampered during the past 18 months. Barring June to September months, the train is one of the most preferred modes, followed by horse rides and hand-pulled rickshaws.


The Matheran station, which wore a deserted look until Saturday afternoon, was seen getting a makeover on Sunday as the council used the high-pressure water hose from the firefighter vehicle to clean the premises. Women were seen doing the last-minute sweeping of the floor.

First published on: 30-10-2017 at 02:54:07 am
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