There is every chance that your slow crawling journey in a toy train on the 21-km long Neral-Matheran stretch will become faster. The Central Railway (CR), for the first time, is making overall upgrades at a cost of Rs 5 crore on this narrow gauge rail line on the hill station. The authorities said this will help reduce travel time on the Matheran Light Railway from the current three hours to two hours or even less.
The project will include installation of crash barriers totalling to three-km, replacing the old wooden and metal sleepers with concrete ones and some other changes on this scenic hill station toy train route. Some of these upgrades are being carried out on the pattern of the Kalka-Shimla railway line.
The project will include installation of crash barriers totalling to three-km, replacing the old wooden and metal sleepers with concrete ones and some other changes on this scenic hill station toy train route | FPJ photo
A senior CR official said this is the first time that concrete sleepers packed with ballasts will be laid on the Neral-Matheran corridor. “This will certainly lead to faster movement of trains and cut travel time,” he said. The anti-crash barriers will come up at different points along the line. The CR authorities will construct 800-mt retaining wall and a gabion wall on another 1,300 mts to control erosion, prevent soil loosening and strengthen the walls.
The railways also plan to replace the old iron, steel and wooden sleepers with cement concrete sleepers. The line requires nearly 37,500 concrete sleepers, of which around 2,500 have arrived and are being fitted. The remaining 35,000 are expected to arrive in the coming days in phases. The work is expected to complete in a year or so, with the target being 2023.