The Nilgiri Mountain Railway is a railway in Tamil Nadu, India, built by the British in 1908 and was initially operated by the Madras Railway. The railway still relies on its fleet of steam locomotives. NMR comes under the jurisdiction of the newly formed Salem Division. In July 2005, UNESCO added the Nilgiri Mountain Railway as an extension to the World Heritage Site of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, the site then became known as "Mountain Railways of India."After it satisfied the necessary criteria, thus forcing abandonment of the modernisation plans. For the past several years diesel locomotives have taken over from steam on the section between Coonoor and Udhagamandalam. Between Mettupalayam and Coonoor, the line uses the Abt rack and pinion system to climb the steep gradient. On this rack section trains are operated by 'X' Class steam rack locomotives manufactured by the Swiss Locomotive and Machine Works of Winterthur in Switzerland. These steam locomotives can be used on any part of the line (either with or without the rack section),but the newer diesel locomotives can operate on the entire section, between Mettupalayam and Udagamandalam.This signals the beginning of the process to phase out the coal-fired vintage Swiss engines that took scores of passengers on the rack and pinion track to Coonoor and Udhagamandalam, covering 41.8 kilometres (26.0 mi), 108 curves, 16 tunnels and 250 bridges
The steam engine ride is another factor to add some drama to your trip. There is nothing special about the ride and it’s rather slow, that you can get down and climb it again. Still the view and the feel that it gives is awesome.
It covers 46km of mountainous terrain, starting from the town of Mettupalayam to Ooty in the Nilgiri hills, in Tamil Nadu. The train passes through several tunnels and runs along rustic bridges with an overview of lush oasis.