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Matheran Light Railway Hill Train Travel Journey

Route: Neral - Matheran - Neral
Matheran Light RailwayAbdul Hussain, son of the business tycoon, Sir Adamjee Peerbhoy of Mumbai, was a regular visitor to Matheran at the turn of the century. After having obtained a reluctant consent from his father, young Abdul Hussain camped at Neral in 1900 AD to plan for a narrow gauge railway line to Matheran. The construction started in 1904 and the two feet gauge line finally opened to traffic in 1907.

The Zig Zag Route

Neral, the starting station of this line, falls nearly midway on the Mumbai-Pune route of the central railway. Starting from Neral, the narrow gauge two feet line runs parallel to the main broad gauge line leaving the road to the west of Hardal hill, then turning sharply east. The ascent commences and road and rail meet at the end of the third mile near Jummapatti station. They part company again to meet a mile further just beyond the steep slope of Bhekra Khud.

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A narrow stretch of level ground terminates in the abrupt rise underlying Mount Barry. To avoid a reversion station, a large horseshoe embankment was constructed. Round this the line runs for a mile in the north direction till it turns back through the only tunnel on the route. 'One Kiss Tunnel' gives a couple time just sufficient for a kiss!

Then & Now

The line now lies under Mount Barry, and to negotiate the rise here, the line zigzags sharply backwards and forwards twice passing through two deep cuttings. The line pursues its may more decorously and reaches out more or less straight for panorama point after skirting it and then returns by Simpson's tank and terminates close to the Matheran Bazaar.

The railway is 12-1/2 miles long and has a gauge of only two feet. The permanent way originally consisted of rail 30 lb to a yard with a ruling gradient of 1 in 20. Speed is limited to 12 miles per hour only. Construction of line was done by local labour though occasionally help was sought from the 'Pioneer regiments'. The rails have since been replaced by heavier ones weighing 42 lb to a yard. The permanent way Inspector of Neral maintains this line.

During Monsoons

As a precautionary measure against frequent slides, the line used to close during the monsoons (July-August) till recently, but now passenger services continue even during rainy months. To commemorate the continuance of trains in the monsoon months of 1982, a M.L.R. loco N.o. 741 (O & K 1767 of 1905) has been installed at the Matheran station.