कूनूर Coonoor (ONR): The quaint railway station in Coonoor wore a festive look on Tuesday. The occasion was the 9th anniversary of the Nilgiri Mountain Railway (NMR) being bestowed the status of a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). Various organisations joined hands to commemorate it in a fitting manner.
Consequently tourists who came by the Mettupalayam-Ooty train were greeted with roses, sweets and dolls.
Many said it was an unexpected and pleasant surprise which they will cherish for long.
K.Natarajan, founder of the Heritage Steam Chariot Trust (HSCT) told that though NMR Day was celebrated every year in October to mark the establishment of the line for the first time, it had been decided to remember July 15 as Heritage Day in Coonoor.
He hoped that the Railway ministry will re-open the closed stations along the line and convert them into heritage restaurants.
The NMR first came into being in 1899 between Mettupalayam and Coonoor.In 1908, it was extended to Ooty.
It has lived through many challenges over the years including the several attempts to dismantle the line on account of it being uneconomical, a major accident during the early 1980s involving a freight train, technical problems and landslides.
R.Parameswaran, president, Coonoor Merchants Association said that trading community was in many ways dependent on the NMR for its economic well being.
Sunil Goyal, president, Lions Club of Nilgiris while welcoming the tourists urged them to help maintain the holiday resort properly and avoid the use of plastics.