The Neral-Matheran toy train is likely to chug again along the ghats of the Matheran hills from June 1.
The train services were discontinued in April 2016 following two derailments which had raised safety concerns for passengers . The hill station of Matheran and the toy train, which takes passengers from Neral station to Matheran, are popular among Mumbaiikars.
Source said Aman Lodge to Matheran section of the train is likely to restart from June 1, as the Central Railway (CR) is looking forward to completing the crucial track and anti-crash barrier work by the end of May. Aman Lodge station of the toy train is located close to Dasturi Naka, the entrance point of Matheran. Tourists can’t take their vehicles beyond Dasturi Naka as vehicles are prohibited in Matheran. Currently, they have to walk 2.5 km to Matheran or take a horse ride. Restarting train on the Aman Lodge-Matheran route will ease visitors’ journey to the hill station .
To prevent any safety lapse, the CR has procured 21 coaches with speed brakes and better technology. The new rakes are being tested by the Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO) which has capped the speed limit at 13 kmph. Besides, the CR is undertaking track works and installing anti-crash barrier.
Sources said the full-fledged operations are likely to restart only after the monsoon.
More than 1,500 commuters use the heritage train daily to access Matheran which is a favourite weekend destination for many in the city. “Neral-Matheran is a fun journey in toy train we hope it is resumed at the earliest,” said Rohini Rao, Thane resident.