THODUPUZHA: The tourism department is all set to restart the Munnar – Mattupetty monorail service which was stalled 95 years ago. The authorities plan to run the service in the model of the renowned Himalayan train service in Darjeeling. The old railway lines that pass through Tata’s tea estate are 35 kilometres long. Five kilometres of these lines would be renewed in the initial stage. If the project succeeds, the old railway lines would be completely renewed. The tourism authorities said that the Tata Company has promised to allot the land.
This is one of the most prestigious projects undertaken by the tourism department. Minister Kadakampally Surendran said that the renewed railways would draw more number of tourists to the hill station. The officials of the railway development corporation and the tourism department would reach Munnar to discuss about the feasibility of the project. The budget of the project and the following procedures would be decided after this group has tabled their report.
Himalayan railway in UNESCO’s world heritage list
The Darjeeling-Himalayan train service runs between New Jalpaiguri in West Bengal and Darjeeling. The narrow gauge steam engine service is popularly known as the toy train for its colourful and compact bogies. There are 17 stops for the train in the 87 kilometres long route. It is often hailed as one of most amazing train journeys in the world. The UNESCO has declared this toy train service as a world heritage site.
It was the British who built the Munnar-Mattupetty monorail lines. It was the easiest way to transport tea and other products to Mattupetty. From 1908 onwards, the train began to run on steam. However, the railway lines were destroyed in the massive landslides and floods in 1924. The old railway station now functions as the head quarters of the Kannan Devan Tea Plantation Company. The wheel of the train that used to run then is exhibited in the museum here.