Maharashtra’s Matheran toy train stations turn ‘green’

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Mumbai, April 20 (IANS) All four stations en route the famed Toy Train servicing the eco-sensitive hillstation of Matheran in Maharashtra’s Raigad district have turned “green” with installation of solar power and wind energy plants, an official said here on Friday.

According to Central Railway spokesperson Sunil Udasi, the four stations on the 21 km route passing through thick forests are Jummapatti, Waterpipe, Aman Lodge and the termination point of Matheran.

“These stations are now provided with solar power plants with a capacity of 500-1000 Wp and at Matheran, a windmill with a capacity of 6.1 KWp, besides LED lights and fans,” he said, adding that the electric supply from renewable sources will drastically reduce the power bills and save over Rs 200,000 annually besides reducing the carbon footprint.

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The 111-year old Matheran Toy Train, which was shut since May 2016 following derailments, resumed full services in January this year.

The Toy Train, named ‘Phul Rani’, starts at Neral to climb 2,625 feet altitude, what is Asia’s only and one of the handful of “vehicle-free” hill stations in the world.

The resumption of services proved a boon to the local residents and tourists to Matheran as the summer peak tourism season got underway after the annual examinations.

Considered an engineering marvel, the narrow-guage toy train ascends in a crazy zig-zag (with more than 280 steep turns) from Neral to Matheran, offering breathtaking views of the lush green and steep hills and deep valleys, highlighting the beauty of the tiny hill station.

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It was built by a Mumbai industrialist, the late Sir Adamjee Peerbhoy at a staggering cost of Rs 1.6 million in seven years, between 1901-1907.

The hill railway contributed in a big way to the growth of Matheran and forever changed the face of the tiny hillstation, which was discovered in May 1850 by the then Mumbai Collector Hugh Poyntz Malet.

Prior to resuming services, the CR carried out extensive maintenance works, replaced tracks, erected crash barriers or walls on some of the steep curves and other safety initiatives for safe journey of the six-coach toy train.

–IANS

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