Matheran toy train with its plush
Peerbhoy descendents claim credit to ancestor for Matheran
The descendents of
Adamjee Peerbhoy, the visionary due to whose efforts the hill
station of Matheran is popular today, now want to start a public
movement so that their ancestor is credited
Mumbai: Thousands of
tourists flocking to Matheran, the small hill station close to
Mumbai, will soon travel by swanky new coaches of the toy train --
with a 3D view of the hills, forests and wildlife.
The new coaches, painted royal blue and white, with to-and-fro
destinations on it, will offer new retractable chair car style
seats, arm rests, pleasant interiors, huge windows and a
In contrast, the old coaches, made of wood and metal, had benches,
making the three-hour journey tedious, especially for senior
A Central Railway official said that following a successful
preview and trial runs, work would be undertaken to produce more
coaches, each costing Rs.2.25 million.
So far, the Kurduwadi railway workshop has built eight coaches.
More will be added within a year.
Those travelling to Matheran by road, some 90 km from Mumbai in
Raigad district, must leave their vehicles at a distance and then
walk or ride a horse all over the hill station.
Discovered by the British in 1850 and developed thereafter,
Matheran is situated around 800 metres above sea level, with lush
greenery and cool weather round the year. The monsoons are said to
It was in 1907 that Mumbai industrialist Sir Adamjee Peerbhoy
built the Matheran Hill Railway. It was inspected by a Unesco
heritage site team in 2009. Its status report is awaited.
The official said that after more safety and field trials, Central
Railway hopes to put them in service by early 2012, to ferry
passengers on the Neral-Matheran-Neral route.
Though the new coaches will provide more comforts and leg room, it
would be at the cost of the total capacity.
For instance, in the old version, the first class and second class
had a capacity of 24 and 30 passengers. In the new it would be
reduced to 24 and 20 respectively.
However, there are plans to join one or two additional coaches to
each rake to compensate for the reduced capacity of each coach.
At present, four rakes ply on the 20-km narrow gauge route daily.
On weekends it is increased to five pairs daily to cater to the
The new coaches have been provided mobile charging facilities. The
first class coaches have fans, seat covers and curtains to make
the trip memorable.
By next year, Central Railway hopes to offer services with at
least two sets of new rakes, each with six coaches.
The fare structure for the trains with new coaches has not been
finalised yet. "The priority is to offer a comfortable journey to
the people on this beautiful section," said a railway official.
(Quaid Najmi can be
contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)