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rabin
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2004 12:21 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Nilgiris train being evaluated for heritage status

[India News] Chennai, Sep 28 : A 105-year-old mountain railway in Tamil Nadu is being evaluated for being granted World Heritage status on the lines of a similar train that runs in West Bengal.

A team of Unesco experts is currently studying the Nilgiris Mountain Railway after Indian Railways applied for heritage status, a move that is expected to boost its tourist potential.

If approved, the Nilgiris line will get, like its Darjeeling counterpart, Rs.5 million annually for its upkeep, officials said.

The Blue Mountain Express, as the train is called, passes through 45.8 km of the protected Nilgiris bio-reserve, negotiating 208 curves, 250 bridges and 16 tunnels.

The engines that haul then train were imported more than a century ago from Switzerland.

The experts' team will extensively travel the line, which takes four-and-a-half hours to traverse, during the four-day inspection that began Monday.

It will submit its report to Unesco's International Council for Monuments and Sites in Paris in the first week of December, officials said.

Unesco will rule on the issue by early February, the officials added.

--Indo-Asian News Service

http://www.newkerala.com/news-daily/news/features.php?action=fullnews&id=33610

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rabin
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2005 6:48 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Nilgiris Railway to get heritage status
Rediff - India
N V Maller in Coimbatore | June 22, 2005 15:50 IST

While the long-cherished dream of getting heritage status to the Nilgiris Mountain Railway may not be too far away, the railways are now more concerned about how to make the train more viable.

According to highly placed railway sources, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation has accepted in principle the application from Southern Railways to accord the heritage status, which will come by July-end.

A two-member team headed by Robert Lee, UNESCO consultant, had visited NMR, between Mettupalayam and Udhagamandalam, a few months ago and said this was a fit to be declared a world heritage, the sources added.

However, Southern Railways, particularly, Palakkad division, was concerned about how to make the NMR viable as it is currently incurring a loss of about Rs 4.20 crore annually, they said.

Even though, the heritage status would bring a financial assistance of Rs 50 lakh annually for maintenance, railways will have to pump in more funds for attracting tourists by way of rebuilding coaches, the sources added.

The major chunk of expenses to maintain the NMR will go towards salary for 365 employees on the section (covering 46 km) and establishment costs. According to them, the earning was Rs 38 lakh to Rs 40 lakh annually only by way of passenger revenue.




Heritage status to Nilgiris Railway
Chennai Online - Chennai,India | Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Coimbatore, June 22: While the long-cherished dream of getting heritage status to the Nilgiris Mountain Railway (NMR) may not be a far off reality, the Railways are more concerned how to make the train more viable.

The UNESCO is understood to have accepted in principle the application from Southern Railways, and other different organisations in the Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu to accord the heritage status, which is to come by the end of July, highly placed railway sources said.

A two-member team, headed by Robert Lee, UNESCO consultant, had visited NMR, between Mettupalayam and Udhagamandalam, the famous hill station, a few months ago and said this was a fit case to be declared as world heritage, the sources said.

However, Southern Railways, particularly, Palakkad division, was scratching its head to make the NMR viable as it is at present incurring a loss of about Rs.4.20 crore annually, mainly through maintenance expenses, they said.

Even though the heritage status would bring a financial assistance of Rs.50 lakh annually for maintenance, Railways had to pump in more funds for attracting tourists by way of rebuilding the coaches, and also making available seats for tourists, they said.

The major chunk of expenses to maintain the NMR is going towards salary for 365 employees on the section covering 46 kms, maintaining the quarters and establishment costs, whereas the earning was Rs.38 lakh to Rs.40 lakh annually only by way of passenger revenue, the sources said.

The train, chugging along the scenic beauty of the Nilgiris, negotiates more than 200 curves, passes through 16 tunnels and crosses 250 bridges and the only comparable system is perhaps the Switzerland Mountain Railway of the Alps.

The alternate biting system of the oldest rack and pinion technology is being used in NMR to hold the train firmly on to the rails even at the deepest gradient.

The grip factor of the rack and pinion system helped in bringing the train to a halt abruptly when brakes were applied and "this technological marvel and excellence is the special aspect of NMR", the sources said.

After the visit by the UNESCO team, two divisional managers of Palakkad, Amarnath and S K Sharma have taken lot of efforts to get the heritage status to NMR.

Expressing apprehension about the 'independent say' the railways would have after being accorded heritage status, the sources said the major concern of the department was the revenue it could generate, without increasing the fare, which at present was cheaper than in buses.

Though tourists, particularly from other countries, are ready to pay more, non-availability of seats from Coonoor to Udhagamandalam (Ooty), a 15-km stretch, mainly occupied by local people due to cheaper rate, is another cause for concern, they said.

Although the Railways had recommended the closure of NMR, the divisional managers had taken initiative for its continuation and sent proposals for making it viable, the sources said. (Agencies)

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sierra_senthil
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2005 9:18 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Thanks for the news Rabin.
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rabin
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2005 1:42 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

NMR gets World Heritage Status
Chennaionline.com. Published: Friday, July 15, 2005

Coimbatore, July 15: The Nilgiris Mountain Railways (NMR) has been "inscribed" as a World Heritage Site.

The application for inscription of NMR as a World Heritage Site has been accepted, as an extension of Darjeeling Himalaya Railway (DHR), during the 29th session of the World Heritage committee meeting at Durban today, a Southern Railway release said here.


NMR and DHR have been jointly renamed as the "Mountain Railways of India," by the committee, it said.


Following are the criteria for the acceptance: The Mountain Railways of India are outstanding examples of the interchange of values on developments in technology, and the impact of innovative transportation system on the social and economic development of a multicultural region, which was to serve as a model for similar developments in many parts of the World.


The development of railways in the 19th century had a profound influence on social and economic developments in many parts of the World. The mountain railways of India are outstanding examples of a technological ensemble, representing diferent phases of the development in high mountain areas.


NMR runs between Mettupalayam near here and Udhagamandalam, the famous hill station, called 'Queen of Hills.'


The application for inscription of NMR was submitted by Palghat Division, through the Railway Ministry and continuous efforts by various railway agencies fruitfully culminated in the inscription of NMR as a World Heritage Site, the release said.


The World Heritage committee consists of representatives from 21 of the States/Parties, concerning the protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, elected by the General Assembly, it said.


The World heritage committee decides the inclusion or deletion of a Site from the World Heritage listing. (Agencies)



http://www.chennaionline.com/colnews/newsitem.asp?NEWSID=%7B6C5BA83A-630A-4081-B982-FD436080A464%7D&CATEGORYNAME=Tamil+Nadu

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rabin
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2005 6:45 am Reply with quoteBack to top

New track: Niligiri Rail gets World Heritage status
Jennifer, NDTV.com, Sunday, August 21, 2005 (Coonoor):

The Nilgiri Mountain Railway has received the World Heritage status from UNESCO, like the Darjeeling Railway.

"It means that the Railways can't close it down at any point. We don't get any financial benefit, but the World Heritage status means putting the Ooty line on the world map of the railways," said Thomas Varghese, GM, Southern Railway.

Few tourists from India and abroad can leave the Nilgiris without enjoying the five-hour ride up the hillside, and locals advise visitors to throw away their watches.

Fresh lease of life

The route has been a losing proposition for the Railways, but now unofficial support is likely to infuse new life.

"The old compartments should be maintained as they are, they are more comfortable and a part of the heritage," a Railway employee said.

"We want more frequency, track strengthening and more facilities, especially for lady passengers," said another.

Unique attraction

Completed in 1908, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway's unique feature is the rack and pinion system which helps the train gain height on the steep gradients.

This system, along with the engines, coaches and quaint stations, will continue to be a selling point for the Blue Mountains.

"Ooty's economy will improve, and there will definitely be tourists, especially foreigners," said K Natarajan, of the Heritage Trust.

With the Nilgiri Mountain Railway having chugged its way onto the Heritage List, local residents too are delighted as they see the history of this area being preserved.

http://www.ndtv.com/features/showfeatures.asp?slug=Niligiri+Rail+gets+World+Heritage+status&Id=1083

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rabin
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2005 7:16 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Nilgiri's Heritage train draws foreign tourists!

Asian News International - HindustanTimes.com

Tamil Nadu, September 4, 2005

Running through the high mountains and thick forest cover of Nilgiri Hills the Heritage train in Tamil Nadu remains the cynosure of tourists, particularly foreigners. They cherish the thought of travelling on this more than a century-old train.

Operated by the Nilgiri Mountain Railway (NMR), the Heritage train is southern India's main tourist attraction. Commissioned in June 1899, it is one of the oldest mountain railways in India commissioned that year.

Located in the Nilgiri Hills, the metre gauge rail-line links the town of Mettupalayam in the plains to the high altitude tourist destination, Ooty, situated at a height of 7,228 feet (2200 meters) the train passes through some of the most breathtaking tropical forests of western Ghats.

Covering a distance of 47 km, Heritage train is one of the few trains in the country which is powered by a steam locomotive.

The Nilgiri Mountain Railway, a 107-year-old organisation, was recently granted World Heritage Status by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). Rangaiah, President, Nilgiri Cultural Welfare Association said that they are all pleased with the decision, which will help promote improvements in services.

"We are happy that the Nilgiri Railway has been given Heritage status. We have been asking for this status for a very long time as it will help us bring about improvements," says RangaiahRangaiah.

A unique feature of NMR is that it is the only railway system in the world using the technology of Alternate Biting Teeth (ABT) of racks and pinion system, by which a locomotive engine at the rear pushes up the rakes while climbing up and holds the train firmly while descending.

With an average gradient of "1 in 12.5 feet", the NMR is the steepest mountain railway in Asia.

The train is a delightful little blue and cream affair with wooden coaches and large windows. It is hauled by smart steam engines, designed and built by the Swiss Locomotive Works, of which 12 still survive today.

The journey that takes about 5 hours winds through steep curvy rocky hills, stretches of thick green rain forests, open fields and its magnificent views is a visual treat for the passengers.It's fame spread through the grapevine brings many foreign tourists to the State to take a ride on the train and experience the beautiful journey.

"I knew about this train from a friend who told me it was a really nice trip and she went in India last year. She told me you have to take the blue mountain railway because it's a great experience.I loved it," said Enoha a foreign tourist.

"It's a beautiful journey among the mountains with great views of the valley and there are nice people on the train, it's a very nice travel," said Ciril, another tourist from abroad.

Among other mountain railways, NMR compares with Swiss Mountain Railway System of the Alps in terms of technology and ruling gradient.The steam engine puffs its way through 208 curves, 16 tunnels and 250 bridges during its 45 km journey. NMR would be the second rail track, after Darjeeling in West Bengal, to bag the rare honour in India.

Nilgiris gets its name from a shrub, which blooms once in every 12 years, giving the hills a shade of rare blue.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/181_1482431,001100020013.htm

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