Complete Guide To The Nilgiri Mountain Railway

July 25, 2021

What is Niligiri Mountain Railway ?
Just a transport medium? Lifeline for many? A pristine landscape ride? Or, a demanding vintage ride which revokes us to a nostalgic life?
Well, yes, all of these! Over a 100 years, people around the world is approaching this one-of-a-kind railway line to latch the memories of a to and fro stupendous experience of heritage. Right from the whistling sound of this coal steamed engine from Mettupalayam station promenade, through the marvellous picturesque route and to the destination at Ooty, the queen of blue hills, entire journey is definitely a thing to experience in a lifetime!

How this marvel happened?

Take a look back into the pre-independence India where the British officers spent most of the luxurious life in this blue hill called Ooty and as it became the summer capital of the Madras presidency, travelling with the families through this tough terrain became a deal of task that took about 10 days. That is where the concept of Niligiri mountain railway came in and later executed. It extends about 46 km in length that starts from Mettupalayam to Udhagamandalam (Ooty). This shortened the travel from 10 days to 5 hours. Though it took long 54 years to complete, Niligiri mountain railways remains as a stunner from the British’s end. Now, famously known as the Toy train!

Why experience this Toy Train?

  • It is one among the three Indian railways recognized by UNESCO as “Outstanding examples of hill railways”. Witness the engineering marvel through the terrains.
  • It is the only meter gauge rack railway in India and uses rack and pinion system to climb the steep hill railways. This belongs to the last bastions of steam era.
  • Travel through the stiff curves which remains steepest track in Asia (increasing from 1,069 feet to 7,228 feet above sea level) 
  • Experience the jaunt through 16 tunnels and over 250 bridges. The dark in the each tunnel opens a frame of a fresh scene!
  • You can travel through one of the world’s largest valley in Ketty which extends from plains of Coimbatore to Mysore plateaus
  • Cross the Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve which is home to innumerable species of flora and fauna
  • Ride through the lush green forest, tea plantations, rocky terrains, ravines, valleys, gushing waters, hanging rocks, coniferous trees, misty clad of hills, steep valleys, road bridges, tunnels, viaducts and what not!

The majestic Route/Stations 

It takes 4 hours and 50 minutes to reach the destination from Mettupalayam.

Kallar (QLR) – After crossing the Bhavani River, Kallar is the first watering point. The train uses 4,000 liters of water every five kilometres. It takes half the way 21 Km to reach Coonoor.

Adderly (ADRL) – This stop is to refill the water. You will cross the Adderly bridges that stands for the wonderful long pillar bridges.

Hillgrove (HGL) – Beautiful little railroad station where you can spot variety of birds.

Runnymede (RNMD) – The next watering point that rests amidst of the tea plantations. Here you can get a spectacular view of the Shola forest. Now, ready for the stiff climb to the next station.

Coonoor (ONR) – The busy station with 8 train coming in and out every day. You can see the Steam loco mounted outside the station which has breathlessly run 750,000 Km in 75 years. Also experience the replacement of steam locomotive to diesel locomotive from here. 

Wellington (WEL) – You can cross the Wellington Bridge which stands tallest in the whole line.

Aravangadu (AVK) – This is the only crossing station in the line.

Ketty (KXT) – Ketty is blissed with the largest valleys in the world… 

Lovedale (LOV) – A small romantic village crowed with eucalyptus and coniferous treesOoty- The destination and the largest hill station in the Niligiris and Tamil Nadu

How to book?

Less Seats but more demand! It is advisable to book the tickets at least before two months the date of your trip.

  • You can book tickets on the IRCTC website.
  • If you reside nearby, you can directly book the tickets from the PRS counters situated in Railway stations.
  • Please note that no more than 4 tickets is given per person at the booking window

Contact 0755-6610661, 0755-3934141

Ticket Price updated on March 2020

Sr NoTrain Number/Name1st Class2nd Class
156136 / Mettupalayam-Udagamandalam MG PassengerRs 545Rs 270
256139 / Udagamandalam-Coonoor MG PassengerRs 320Rs 140
356136 / Mettupalayam to CoonoorRs 445Rs 190

Trains Available

The station code for Mettupalayam is MTP, and Udagamandalam (Ooty) UAM. 

Train. No/NameFromDepartureToArrival
56136/Mettupalayam-Ooty MG PassengerMettupalayam7:10 AMOoty12 PM
56141/Coonoor- Udagamandalam MG PassengerCoonoor7:45 AMOoty9.05 AM
56136/Mettupalayam- Ooty MG PassengerCoonoor10.40 AMOoty12.00 PM
56143/Coonoor- Udagamandalam MG PassengerCoonoor12:35 PMOoty1.50 PM
56138/Coonoor- Udagamandalam MG PassengerCoonoor4.30 PMOoty5:45 PM

Return trains available 

Train No/NameFromDepartureToArrival
56137/Ooty- Mettupalayam MG PassengerOoty2.00 PMMettupalayam5.35 PM
56139/ Udagamandalam- Coonoor MG PassengerOoty9:15 AMCoonoor10:25 AM
56142/Udagamandalam- Coonoor MG PassengerOoty12:15 PMCoonoor1:20 PM
56137/Udagamandalam- Mettupalayam MG PassengerOoty2:00 PMCoonoor3.05 PM
56140/Udagamandalam- Coonoor MG PassengerOoty6:00 PMCoonoor7:10 PM

How to Reach Mettupalayam?

Choose Air: The closest airport from Mettupalayalam is Coimbatore which is 45 Kms from Mettupalayam. There are so many local and government buses available from Coimbatore to Mettupalayam. 

Choose Train: In connection with the NMR timing, The daily 12671 Nilagiri Express train from Chennai which arrives at 6.15 AM, is the best available option. There are regular passenger train during the day.
Choose Road: Coimbatore Road, Sathy Road, Ooty Road, Annur Road are the 4 major Highway roads connecting Mettupalayam. There are regular buses from Coimbatore, the first at 5 AM.

Curated by : Sudhina VK

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2 years ago

I had booked Tickets to and fro from Ooty to Mettupalayam only one way Tickets got confirmed and return tickets waiting was 2/3/4 but TT didn’t alloted seat even though there was seats available and asked me the fine which is double the cost of tickets in order to get confirmed seat I think this should is unbearable I want to rise a complaint be causioues.

Reply to  Raghu
2 years ago

If you are traveling with a wait listed ticket booked online, it’s considered as traveling without tickets. All non-confirmed tickets booked online will be refunded post the journey date. Hence the TT would’ve charged you the prescribed fine. If you didn’t get any receipt for the same you can raise a complaint.

2 years ago

What’s the best travel time to enjoy beauty of nilgiri Mountain from Ooty to coonoor and back to ooty- morning, afternoon or evening??

Prasad Aadish
Reply to  Poornima
2 years ago

Both are equally good.
But morning has it’s own vibes.

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