Central Railway to resume shuttle service for residents of Matheran
Following a request from the local administration, Railways grants permission to run a mini-train between Aman Lodge (Dasturi Naka) and Matheran town
The Maharashtra state government has given the Central Railway (CR) the go-ahead to open shuttle services between Aman Lodge stations and Matheran town along the narrow gauge Matheran Hill Railway. The Railways had shut the trains during the lockdown and government permissions have come after requests from the Matheran Municipal Council to get the line started.
"The Matheran Municipal Council had requested that the mini train shuttle service between Dasturi Naka and Matheran town be resumed as horses and hand rickshaws are the only means of transport there. Following this, the Maharashtra government has granted permission for operating of mini train shuttle services between Aman Lodge (Dasturi Naka) and Matheran town only and directives have been issued to the Central Railway accordingly," a letter from the Maharashtra State Director of the Disaster Management Unit Abhay Yawalkar stated on October 19 states.
Matheran council president Prerna Sawant told mid-day that they were still awaiting the resumption of services. "The Railways' authorities here have begun cleaning and beefing up the rail tracks. So I anticipate that the services would begin soon," she said.
Horses were being used to ferry essentials such as LPG cylinders
mid-day had highlighted the issue earlier during complete lockdown as to how the 6,500 residents up there had been dependent on about 460 horses and a few hand carts for essential supplies. Following court directives, the Railways allowed the train services to open for freight to ferry essentials.
Railway officials said that during the complete lockdown too, they made two attempts to revive the train service, but there was not much response to it and had very less patronage.
Local residents said that the response now would be better than the earlier as tourist movement is slowly gaining pace unlike the time in complete lockdown when there were no passengers at all.
CR senior public relations officer Anil Kumar Jain confirmed that they had received the Maharashtra government's letter about the resumption of services on the narrow gauge Matheran Hill Railway. "Central Railway has sent the proposal to the Railway Board for their approval," he said.
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