Attention tourists, here’s what Central Railway says about Neral-Matheran toy train service

Passenger services between the Neral-Aman Lodge section of Neral-Matheran narrow gauge ‘toy train’, popular with tourists, will remain suspended for four months in view of the monsoon as a precautionary measure, the Central Railway (CR) said on Friday. 

The train, which takes travellers to Matheran, a small, vehicle-free hill station in adjoining Raigad district, will not operate between June 8 and October 15 for safety reasons, it said in a release. The narrow gauge line traverses through the picturesque ghat section of Matheran, a popular holiday destination and weekend getaway for tourists, especially those from Mumbai and Pune. 

However, the Central Railway will operate regular shuttle services between Matheran and Aman Lodge, located close to Dasturi point, beyond which motorised vehicles except ambulances, are not permitted on the hill station located 100 km from Mumbai, said the release. Six Up and Down shuttle services each of the heritage narrow gauge train, which is more than 100 years old, will be operated between Matheran and Aman Lodge from Monday to Friday.

Eight services each will be run on the stretch on Saturday and Sunday, it said. Every year, the CR suspends the operation of the Neral-Matheran toy train, which covers a distance of 21km, during the monsoon period as a precautionary measure because of the danger of landslides. 

The Neral-Matheran Light Railway, which is among the few heritage mountain railways in India, has completed 116 years. The toy train service on the narrow gauge line pulled by a steam engine commenced in 1907. The Neral-Matheran railway’s construction started in 1904 and the two-foot gauge line opened to traffic in 1907. 

The CR is planning to give a heritage steam engine look to the present diesel-run engine “to revive the glorious past” of the Neral-Matheran narrow gauge train.