Matheran toy train: Central Railways starts to relay tracks, upgrade services

Nov 30, 2017, 11:22 IST | Rajendra B. Aklekar

The train services are expected to resume by March next year

The Matheran toy train will be back on track soon, courtesy the Central Railway’s (CR) efforts to make it safe and sound. For the first time in 110 years, the CR has started relaying the rail tracks between Neral and Matheran, upgrading the locomotives and redrafting safety parameters, to start the services by March next year.

The Central Railway is constructing gabion walls, retaining walls and crash barriers, to create a multiple-layer protection system
The Central Railway is constructing gabion walls, retaining walls and crash barriers, to create a multiple-layer protection system

Speaking to mid-day, Shubhranshu, CR’s chief safety officer, said, “The rail line has been facing a number of issues. The tracks were embedded in the soil and some of the sections were prone to landslides. We were forced to shut down the services last year after two derailments. The line is being fully upgraded.”

Sources said that the railways were spending Rs 18 crore to develop the line and new locomotives were also being manufactured at the Parel workshop. “The line has sharp curves and steep gradients. Besides strengthening the rail tracks, we are also constructing gabion walls, retaining walls and crash barriers, to create a multiple-layer protection system. The old locomotives have been upgraded with digital control panels. These have also been equipped with air brakes,” he added.

Of all the works that are being carried out on the 19-km stretch between Neral and Aman Lodge, the CR has already completed 723 metres of gabion wall, 1.5km of crash barriers and 513 metres of retaining wall. “We intend to complete the work within a couple of months, after which the services will be thrown open to the public. After that, even in case of an unforeseen incident, the crash barriers and retaining wall will protect the train,” he added.

Meanwhile, as locals requested for more runs of the toy train, CR officials said that in view of the safety of passengers, the services would be available only when there is daylight.

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