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Old 4th November 2009, 11:43   #271
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Wow, CL, nice pictures of the Dolphin nose and also the scenic views of the tea estate and also the valley view of Ketti, please continue with the narration, enjoying every moment of being on this thread.
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Old 4th November 2009, 11:45   #272
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Originally Posted by kiku007 View Post

From Berijam Lake there is a now abandoned road to Munnar. I don't know if it's true but they showed us the "what used to be road"
Yup. There is a old road used during British Times. You can trek along this route and to say the views are awesome is an understatement. I narrowly missed doing this trek this year, should hop on next time.
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Old 4th November 2009, 12:18   #273
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Wow, CL, nice pictures of the Dolphin nose and also the scenic views of the tea estate and also the valley view of Ketti, please continue with the narration, enjoying every moment of being on this thread.
Hi Majic, I am happy that my effort has not gone down the drain! Thank you for the appreciation!

Team, coming up shortly, our experience with the Toy Train! Little did we know what was is store for us! There was a twist, straight out of a Tollywood movie! Watch this thread for more on that!
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Old 4th November 2009, 14:58   #274
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CL, I noticed that the experience witht eh toy train is going to be your 500th Post. Make it memorable
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Old 4th November 2009, 15:37   #275
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WOw and an experience in a toy train, after the wait for the X experience , i am sure the wait would be really worth it
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Old 4th November 2009, 23:36   #276
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Red face The Toy Train........

As soon as we reached Ooty, we rushed to Commercial Street to have food. We had not had our lunch and were famished. We parked our Chevy and literally barged into a restaurant and asked the bearer to bring anything that was ready and tasty, really quick!!! He bought us some Parathas and Chicken fry! Boy! The food was scrumptious!

We regained our vigor only after we devoured a couple of Biriyanis also! We felt a little void in our tummies, so we had a little chocolate fudge from King’s bakery! There was still some space left, so we had some chocolates also. Our appetite finally subsided when we had some Cornetto ice creams as well!!!

We were quite weary after spending a long, adventurous day exploring Ooty and Coonoor. The late lunch had also made us a lot heavier! So we decided to go back to our inn and thought of relaxing our aching muscles for some time.

We reached our hotel and wifey expressed a desire to have coffee! So we went to the restaurant there. We recollected all the marvelous sights we had seen that day, over a cup of coffee and a pitcher of juice! Our conversation drifted towards the toy train and we felt a tremendous urge to try it out once. In no time, we had decided to travel on the toy train the next day. I was not too keen on going all the way to Mettupalayam, so we settled on a shorter journey to Coonoor and back.

Wifey was really excited. We decided not to waste any more time and left for the Railway station right away, to reserve tickets for the journey next day.

We reached the railway station after a 10 minute drive. The time was close to 8 pm then. We went inside the station and found all the counters closed. I tried to do an internet reservation from my mobile, but that too did not work. I enquired about the availability of tickets with a security guard and was told that we had to come early in the morning, by 8 am, to get tickets.

Since we had nothing else to do, we drove back to Commercial Street and had a late dinner. We retired for the night by 10.30 pm.

Day 15 – The Toy Train…

We woke up quite early on day 15 of our incredible road trip. Today our usual road trip would become a rail trip! We were very excited at the thought of experiencing the train journey. We got out of the hotel by 7 am and hired an auto to the train station. I was relaxed as we had lots of time at our disposal. We reached our destination by 7.10 am.

We were shocked to see the scene at the station. There were 1000 odd people standing in the queue for 100 odd tickets!!! We were crestfallen when we saw this! There was no way we could get tickets!! Still we decided to wait for sometime to see what would happen next.

At 8 am, the counter opened and the orderly queue, till that second, turned into a mad stampede! We were surprised to see people climbing and jumping over each other to reach the counter first! The scene was akin to fans trying to buy tickets for a Rajnikant film for the first day first show, in Chennai!!!

Luckily, there were no untoward incidents, as the policemen took out their canes to control the unruly mob. We stayed away from the crowd and enjoyed the ‘Great Battle of Ooty’ from a distance.

I was tempted to go inside and shout ‘SNAKE’, but decided against it, owing to the fact that there were ladies and kids in the crowd!

I noticed that some cunning husbands had made their wives stand in the queue, while they stayed back, on the pretext of looking after the kids! Sadly, I did not see any catfights between the women, WWE style!!! That would have been the icing on the cake!

After we enjoyed watching the clash for tickets, we decided to go to Coonoor and try for a ticket on the train departing from there to Ooty! We ran to the bus station, which was very near, and got inside an express bus headed to Coimbatore. We reached Coonoor after an uneventful ride by 9.30 am.

We went to the railway station straightaway and were happy to see that the queue for tickets was very small with only about 10 people.

We were told that the counter would open by 10.30 am, before the train from Mettupalayam arrived! I stood in the queue patiently, while wifey roamed around the station taking photos.

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There were two foreigners in front of me and I was surprised to hear them speak German. They were annoyed that the counter was not yet open. I explained to them in German that the counter would open only half an hour before the train arrived. They were surprised to hear me speak German and started a conversation with me. They were Belgians and told me that it was their fifth time in India, but they had come down south for the first time. They had come to Ooty from Mysore and like us; they had also gone to Ooty to get tickets! We had a hearty laugh at the strange irony!

The passenger train from Ooty arrived at Coonoor station by 10.10 am. Wifey was standing in the platform taking photos.

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Soon, I received a frantic call from wifey. She did not have a platform ticket and the ticket examiners were checking the tickets of passengers exiting from the train. I told her to calm down and move away from the gate. She quickly went to a food stall and stayed there!

The passengers from the train, which had just arrived, flooded inside the station and joined the queue! I was dumbstruck! The scenes I witnessed at Ooty flashed before my eyes! I was the 11th person in the queue! Another battle was going to take place very soon! People were going to climb and walk over my shoulders! I had cleverly avoided the battle at Ooty, but now I was trapped! I slowly removed my jacket and got ready for the worst! I made up my mind to shout ‘SNAKE’ if things went out of control!

The counter opened at 10.30 am sharp. Suddenly my 11th position turned to 25th or so! People just barged into the queue. Finally after lots of shoving, boxing, pulling some oily hair (yuck!) and some quick kicks, I reached the ticket counter. I almost fainted when the guy said, “No First Class”!

I somehow controlled my dizziness and bought two second class tickets for Rs. 2 each!!!

I couldn’t believe that I had fought so hard for just two second class tickets??? Luckily, I did not suffer any collateral damage in the battle.

I had noticed some unscrupulous characters roaming around the station! So I was particularly careful with my wallet! The prospect of driving all the way back to Pune, without a license was intimidating!

I ran to the platform and found my wifey standing nervously near the food stall. She was quite worried as she did not have a ticket. I burst out laughing seeing her anxiety. She calmed down only after I handed her one ticket!!

We saw that the passenger train which had arrived from Ooty was at platform 2. We immediately raced to the train and took some wonderful snaps.

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I enjoyed seeing my wifey so happy! She was as happy as a child with a chocolate!

After our photo session, we returned back to platform 1. The whole area was overflowing with people and we got a feeling that we were not destined to ride on the train that day! We were a bit sad, but we never lost hope.

The passenger train from Mettupalayam was late by 17 minutes. We saw the train coming from far away towards platform 1.

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Almost immediately, we understood that there was no way we were going to get in that train. The train was full to the brim and some people were standing too!

With the thought of the train ride, finally out of our minds, we relaxed instantly and took some photos of the locomotive.

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There were hundreds of nervous tourists waiting to get in the train and there was hardly any space left! So the officials added one more coach to the train. Almost immediately, the crowd broke through the police barricade (a thin nylon rope, if you are wondering what this ‘barricade’ was!) and swarmed inside the coach. It must have filled up in 3 or 4 seconds!

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I was happy to see that the Belgians had somehow managed to squeeze inside the coach. But there were no seats available and they were standing along with a many other passengers!

Soon the train departed to Ooty! Sadly we weren’t in that train!! But we were not too disappointed as we would not have been able to enjoy the ride standing all the time. And worst of all, we wouldn't have been able to click any snaps too!!

We walked back to the highway and were lucky to get a super deluxe bus to Ooty. We reached Ooty town by 12.30 pm.

Last edited by Chevy_lover : 4th November 2009 at 23:50.
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Old 5th November 2009, 08:49   #277
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Hard luck there, CL. Though you didn't get the journey you so coveted, you could at least manage to get some decent photographs of the train itself. Better luck next time!
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Old 5th November 2009, 10:45   #278
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Bad Luck C_L. But I couldn't help laughing at the incidents. Nice Narration and I could visualise the scene in front of my eyes. Seriously the fun of the toy train ride wouldn't be there if you travel like that packed in coaches!
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Old 5th November 2009, 11:23   #279
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Hey CL, i think you had made the mistake of traveling in the toy train in the morning, if you would have attempted going there in the evening it would have been possible on much lesiurely. I think the evening train leaves at 3.30pm and would reach Conoor by 4.30pm, the next train from Conoor is at 4.45Pm. Try it the next time, as it is really worth traveling on the train!. Hey still here with you and enjoying the narrations!
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Old 5th November 2009, 12:39   #280
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Thanks Majic, Raj, Pjay and Elantra.

I hope you enjoyed the twist as much as we did! It was a real anti-climax!

Well, there is always a next time! We have experienced Kalka - Shimla train ride. So we know what to expect! Ooty train ride is next on my agenda, AFTER my trip to Leh!
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Old 5th November 2009, 13:11   #281
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CL, I felt bad for you guys. Your narration brought back memories when me and my wife decided to stay away from the toy train for the same reason. Till date I never had the oppertunity to travel in the toy train... may be when my son grows up I will be able to spend the long waited travel to Ooty. The photos that you have taken on the toy train is awesome. I wonder which year this engine was manufactured. Hmmm..

Your narration is amazing especially the way you thought of shouting snake, man that was tempting
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Old 5th November 2009, 13:45   #282
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Elantra GT , welcome to Team BHP, though late. I think the original engines are far replaced, the current once are on the lines from 1940, i dont know if they too have been replaced.
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Old 5th November 2009, 14:11   #283
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The current ones are from 1950 or 1952 I think, and only three seem to be in operation. Seems they have been converted to burn oil instead of coal. Steam traction is between Mettupalayam and Coonoor, and diesel traction from Coonoor to Ooty. The diesel locos seem to be operating on biodiesel. I have read somewhere that the section between Mettupalayam and Coonoor is the only mountain railway with the rack & pinion arrangement in India, and the steepest in Asia. The Diesels don't run on this section as they lack the rack/pinion facility, unlike the Swiss made steam locos.

We travelled Chennai-Mettupalayam by the Nilgiri express and then by the NMR to Ooty in 1997. I was able to reserve first class tickets up to Ooty from Chennai, and simply boarded the leading coach of the toy train at Mettupalayam (with a little bit of jogging to ward off competition, of course). Since the loco pushes from behind, if you occupy the first row seats of the leading coach, the view is spectacular and believe me, it is a view fit for Gods! The brake man was standing on a small projection jutting out very close to us, and I picked his brains all the way to Coonoor! But beyond Coonoor, once we changed to Diesel traction, the climb was not as spectacular and we soon got bored.

Chevylover, sorry for the OT, please continue!
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Old 5th November 2009, 14:55   #284
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You should have tried the afternoon train which is a shuttle between Coonoor & Ooty. The train from Mettupalayam comes full from there and there is no chance of getting in at Coonoor.
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Old 5th November 2009, 15:12   #285
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gansan View Post
The current ones are from 1950 or 1952 I think, and only three seem to be in operation. Seems they have been converted to burn oil instead of coal. Steam traction is between Mettupalayam and Coonoor, and diesel traction from Coonoor to Ooty. The diesel locos seem to be operating on biodiesel. I have read somewhere that the section between Mettupalayam and Coonoor is the only mountain railway with the rack & pinion arrangement in India, and the steepest in Asia. The Diesels don't run on this section as they lack the rack/pinion facility, unlike the Swiss made steam locos.

We travelled Chennai-Mettupalayam by the Nilgiri express and then by the NMR to Ooty in 1997. I was able to reserve first class tickets up to Ooty from Chennai, and simply boarded the leading coach of the toy train at Mettupalayam (with a little bit of jogging to ward off competition, of course). Since the loco pushes from behind, if you occupy the first row seats of the leading coach, the view is spectacular and believe me, it is a view fit for Gods! The brake man was standing on a small projection jutting out very close to us, and I picked his brains all the way to Coonoor! But beyond Coonoor, once we changed to Diesel traction, the climb was not as spectacular and we soon got bored.

Chevylover, sorry for the OT, please continue!
Thanks Gansan for the wealth of information you shared. I really appreciate the time you spent on research! Since you are so fond of trains, you should try for a ride to Tibet from Shanghai. I will definitely do it one day!

@ Raju, I will try the evening train next time. But to tell you the fact, we really enjoyed seeing the fight for seats! So I think we did not miss ALL the fun! But sadly, I did not see any catfights!
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