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admin 24.08.2015

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One of the world's most celebrated, romantic railway trains, the British 'rail motor car' of India's Himalayan Kalka-Shimla line may have made its last journey after officials said they could no longer source essential spare parts.
But according to railway officials the celebrated train has finally run out of puff with no manufacturers able to supply key parts for its maintenance.Indian Railways divisional manager for Ambala, P K Sanghi, told The Daily Telegraph the train was suspended three weeks ago on safety grounds after wear and tear on its wheels could no longer be overlooked.
It has been built to dramatically reduce the travel time to the British summer capital from several days by elephant, horseback and hand-pulled rickshaw to a humane four and a half hours.Its 60 miles of track cross more than 800 bridges and viaducts, some of which are five tiers deep to span steep valleys. You could take a bus or a taxi and swirl down the mountains, not unlike a large cricket ball in a very large mixie. It has more than 900 switchback hairpin bends to make the climb from just over 2000 feet to just below 7000 and passes through more than 100 tunnels to offer clear views of the Himalayan snow caps above grassy meadows.The train itself has featured in a number of Bollywood films, including the 2007 hit Jab We Met (When we met), and also in Michael Palin's acclaimed television series Himalaya. Or, if you were very lucky, you could go by train.Getting tickets for the toy train connecting Ooty to Mettupalayam is very difficult.


The train played a part in India's successful campaign for the railway to be declared a Unesco World Heritage Site along with the countries other mountain toy-train lines in Darjeeling and the Nilgiri Hills in 2008.
The rail technology has changed drastically and manufacturers are not making spare parts for heritage trains," he explained. I went to Ooty station and on the advice of not less than seven locals, stood in the ticket line two and a half hours before the departure of the train.The station was in utter chaos.
It’s a devious word, meant to lull you into a false sense of confidence, no matter how crowded the mode of transport is. There were queues of people running in all directions, like a woollen sweater attacked by an angry cat. Finally, I managed to stand in the right queue and in good time, I had two standing tickets for the famed toy train.I walked into the station to feast my eyes on the steam billowing out of the toy train as it made its second-last departure from Ooty to Mettupalayam.
There was barely any space in between, resulting in knees knocking against knees like chattering teeth.


The train was just about to embark on its magical journey when suddenly, our tiny door opened and two more people climbed in aggressively. All the romantic, antique beauty of a steam engine chugging up a mountain was best left to film directors. This was a living nightmare.The stuffed toy train ride — would it ever come to an end?



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