Matheran Hill Railway is a 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge heritage railway in Maharashtra, India. The railways comes under the administration of the Central Railways. The railway covers a distance of 21 km (13.05 mi), over large swathes of forest territory connecting Neral to Matheran in the Western Ghats. UNESCO is considering giving world heritage status to matheran light railway
The Neral-Matheran Light Railway was built between 1901 and 1907 by Abdul Hussein Adamjee Peerbhoy, financed by his father, Sir Adamjee Peerbhoy at a cost of 16 lakh (US$24,000). Sir Adamjee Peerbhoy visited Matheran often and wanted to build a railway to make it easier to get there. Hussain’s plans for the Matheran Hill Railway were formulated in 1900 and construction started in 1904. Consulting engineer was Everard Calthrop of Barsi Light Railway fame. The line was open to traffic by 1907. Originally, the tracks were laid with 30 lb/yd (14.9 kg/m) rails but now has 42 lb/yd (20.8 kg/m) rails. Ruling gradient is 1:20 (5%) with tight curves and speeds are limited to 12 km/h (7.5 mph).
The railway was closed by flood damage during 2005 and was not expected to reopen before April 2007. Contrary to those expectations, the first run on the repaired railway was on 5 March 2007. The line observed its centenary on 15 April 2007.
Train services were suspended during the monsoon season from June to October because of the danger of landslides. During the 2012 monsoon season, CR conducted tests of the air brakes, and after receiving approval from the Commission of Railway Safety, ran the train during the monsoon for the first time. CR plans to shorten the period during which services are suspended by suspending services only from 15 July and restarting them on 1 October.
In November 2012, CR added a special coach called a saloon to trains operating on the line. The saloons feature cushioned sofas and LCD screens showing images from outside the train. Earlier, these saloons were available only to railway officers
Neral, the starting point, is about midway between Mumbai and Pune. The 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge line runs parallel to the BG line to the west of Hardal Hill and then turns east to ascend towards Matheran. The rail alignment and the roadway meet near Jumappati and meet again, after a brief separation, at Bhekra Khud. Following a small level stretch, there is a sharp ascent just before Mount Barry. A large horseshoe embankment was built to avoid a reversing station here. The line runs for a mile or so northwards around this and then turns around to take the ‘One kiss Tunnel’ through the embankment. Two more zig-zags through deep cuttings remain before Panorama Point is reached, and then the line bends back to Simpson’s Tank and terminates at Matheran.
It takes approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes to complete the 21 km journey. CR plans to reduce this to 1 hour 30 minutes.
Neral also has a 5 ft 6 in (1,676 mm) (Indian gauge) station which is on the busy Mumbai-Pune route.
Consulting engineer Everard Calthrop designed a 0-6-0T with Klein-Linder locomotives articulated coupled axles to provide a flexible wheelbase, and four were supplied by Orenstein & Koppel. They ran from the railway’s opening in 1907 till 1982, when they were replaced by diesel engines. By 1983, all steam locomotives were phased out. A ‘B’ class loco #794 from the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway was transferred to the Neral-Matheran line in 2001 to test the feasibility of steam excursions
Matheran is a hill station and a municipal council in the Raigad district in the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is a hill station in Karjat Tahsil and is also the smallest hill station in India. It is located on the Western Ghats range at an elevation of around 800 m (2,625 feet) above sea level. It is located around 90 km from Mumbai, and 120 km from Pune. Matheran’s proximity to many metropolitan cities makes it a popular weekend getaway for urban residents. Matheran, which means “forest on the forehead” (of the mountains) is an eco-sensitive region, declared by the Ministry of Environment and Forest, Government of India. It is Asia’s only automobile-free hill station
There are around 38 designated look-out points in Matheran, including the Panorama Point that provides a 360 degree view of the surrounding area and also the Neral town. From this point, the view of sunset and sunrise is dramatic. The Louisa Point offers crystal clear view of the Prabal Fort. The other points are the One Tree Hill Point, Heart Point, Monkey Point, Porcupine Point, Rambagh Point, and more. To stay there, there are plenty of hotels.There are a lot of Parsi bungalows. Beautiful old British-style architecture is preserved in Matheran. The roads are not metalled and are made of red laterite earth
Matheran is located at 18.98°N 73.27°E. It has an average elevation of 800 metres (2,625 feet).Matheran lies in an elevated region, enjoys a cooler and less humid climate which makes it popular during the summer months. Temperatures range from 32 °C (90 °F) to 16 °C (61 °F).
There are altogether 28 points, 2 lakes, 2 parks, 4 major worship places and a racecourse to visit inside Matheran. It takes about 2–3 days on your feet for a complete adventure. Important points are Alexander Pt., Rambag Pt, Little Chowk Pt, Big Chowk Pt, One Tree Hill Pt, Belvedere Pt, Olympia Race Course, Lords Pt, Charlotte Lake, Pisharnath Mahadev Mandir, Celia Pt (a water fall mouth), Echo Pt., Porcupine Pt (Sun Set Pt), Panorama Point (Sun Rise Pt), Khandala Pt, Madhavji Garden & Point, Matheran Railway Station, Louisa Point, Mayra Point, Pisarnath Temple, Matheran Shiv Mandir.View points like monkey and echo, steep cliffs, deep ravines; and squirrel & There are many picnic spots