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Nilgiri Mountain Railway

On a cold morning, a crowd of people rush to board the 662SR Mettupalayam-Udhagamandalam (Nilagiri) Passenger.

is an IT professional who is a full-time techie on weekdays while transforming into a railway fanatic on weekends. Most of his time has been spent in railway photography/ videography ever since he was associated with the IRFCA in May 2005.

Riding the historic Nilgiri Mountain Railway

Built by the British in 1908 and operated by the then Madras Railway, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005. The railway operates from Mettupalayam in Tamil Nadu's Coimbatore district to Ooty, the headquarters of the Nilgiris district, and covers a distance of 46 kilometres, making 10 station stops in all. The railway has the steepest track in Asia with a maximum gradient of 8.33%. The railway operates on the rack-and-pinion system, designed by Swiss locomotive engineer Roman Abt. From Mettupalayam, the train is hauled by Swiss-made 'X' Class steam rack locomotives. At Coonoor, a diesel locomotive takes over and pulls the train into Ooty. PAWAN KOPPA, a railfanner and a member of the Indian Railways Fan Club, recounts a memorable journey on the Nilgiri Mountain Railway.

Photographs reproduced with kind permission of the photographer and Indian Railways Fan Club