The Neral-Matheran narrow gauge 'toy train' will remain suspended between June 10 to October 15 for safety reasons, the Central Railway said on Tuesday.
The train services are stopped during monsoon every year for fear of landslides or stone fall. The CR's announcement, notably, came three days after the train derailed while on the way down to Neral though no passenger suffered injuries.
Shuttle services between Matheran and Aman Lodge, the station close to Dasturi point beyond which vehicles are not allowed, will remain operational during the monsoon, the CR release said. Six pairs of regular passenger services and one 'material special' service will be operated daily from Monday to Friday between Matheran and Aman Lodge stations, it added. Two additional special shuttle services will be operated on weekends. On June 3, one of the wheels of the engine derailed near Jumma Patti station, located some 95 km from Mumbai, around 5.30 pm while the train was heading to Neral from Matheran, a CR spokesperson said. The incident took place a day after the horrific triple train crash in Odisha in which 278 people died. The toy train, which had left Matheran around 4 pm, had 90 to 95 passengers onboard, but no passenger suffered any injury due to the engine derailment, the spokesperson said. The train was re-railed around 9 pm and was brought back to Neral station, located at the foot of Matheran hills, by 10.30 pm.
The incident led to the cancellation of the last train from Neral to Matheran. The toy train moves at a slow speed, and sometimes, in the case of derailment, the support staff manually lift and put a derailed coach back on the tracks.
The Neral-Matheran train route, among the few mountain railways in India, is more than 100 years old. The 21-km narrow gauge track passes through a picturesque valley overlooked by the hill station of Matheran.
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First Published: Jun 06 2023 | 11:40 PM IST