The enchanting hills of ooty has always been tresured by travel enthusiasts. There wouldn't be a wanderlust who have never been to the scenic hill station.
Ridding the classy toy train through the pictaresque hills is a stape on bucket lists of many bitten by the travelbug.
Though there are several scenic spots in the hill station, all tourists vouch that nothing can beat the excitement of travelling in the toy train of Ooty. Watching the greenery and hills pass by, and breathing in the cool breeze, it is a dream-like journey as the little blue train winds its way through the Western Ghats.
Much to the excitement of travel enthusiasts, the toy train service in Ooty was resumed at the end of last month after a gap of two months.
India's heritage train
The Nilgiri Mountain Railway, that operates the train services to Ooty, is one of the oldest mountain railways in India. The British had begun the construction of this railway in 1854. Later in July 2005, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway was declared as a UNESCO world heritage site. The Himalayan Railway in Darjeeling is also included in list of the world heritage sites.
Taking in the sights at leisurely pace
The 46km train journey is from Mettupalayam, which is 330m above the sea level, to Ooty, which is situated 2200m above the sea level.
Ooty, the capital of Nilgiris district, is also known as Udagamandalam. The hill town has long been one of the most popular honeymoon destinations in India. That’s why there is never a vacant seat on the toy train.
As it runs at an average speed of just 10.4km in an hour, the toy train is regarded as the slowest train in India. The train journey stretches up to 4.5 hours to cover the distance of 46km. The toy train passes through 16 tunnels, 250 bridges and 208 curves.
The Nilgiri Railway is the only mountain railway in south India to conduct services daily. One pair of trains operates services on this route every day. The train leaves from Mettupalayam at 7.10am and chugs into Ooty at 12 noon. And it departs from Ooty at 2pm and reaches Mettupalayam at 5.35pm.
Coonoor, Wellington, Aravankadu, Ketti, and Lovedale are the stations en route to Ooty from Mettupalayam. First-class and second-class tickets are available.
How to book tickets?
The toy train tickets can be booked online via the Indian Railway's website (www.irctc.co.in). In the wake of the Covid pandemic, there are restrictions on purchasing tickets directly from the station ticket counters.
The number of tourists will be very high during the season, holidays, and weekends. The toy train journey is likely possible only if you book the tickets at least 2 or 3 months in advance.