For any Delhi guy, the thought of a hill station brings forth memories of a cold but pleasant abode in the Himalayas.Be it Nainital, Mussoorie or Shimla, a getaway implies a getaway from the extreme heat conditions that prevail up north.
It is with this thought that I looked forward to the escapade from the heat ( which I am quite used to) and the humidity( which i am not at all used to).So, three of us on a Saturday Morning took a Central Railway local till Neral. A two hour journey can be very tiring and with the humidity draining the body fluids efficiently, we were exhausted by the time we reached.
Neral to Matheran is around 21 kms and one of the best ways to go is by the toy train. For an avid railfan like me, this was meant to be the high moment in my journey. I have never traveled in a toy train!!! unless of course, you count the one at the Delhi Rail museum to be one!!!. As we made our way to the overcrowded toy train Platform, the adrenalin kept rushing in and hope ensured that I survived the stink and noise of the masses.
Fortune does not always favor the brave or maybe, it was an exception to the rule. The train was already booked to capacity and a long line at the ticket counter ensured that we did not make it on the next one either. Well Well…so much for Toy trainfanning!!!.
Railfanning can sometimes be injurious to health or so I realized when my friends, somehow got to know that the bookings could be done online!!!! That was it…the questions and the allegations started pouring in..The railfan was now the representative of all that was going wrong in my friends’ lives. ” How come u didnt know the tickets could be booked online?” “What Kind of a railfan are you?” ” You are responsible for this mess”…they kept coming for a while till the heat( God’s way of showering some mercy) ensured that they tired down faster than they could talk.Soon all of us were sitting on the platform, dejected and pondering our options.
Blessings come disguised and one was waiting for me. The wait at the platform ensured that I get a glimpse into the history of the toy railway, officially called the Neral Matheran Railway. it also allowed me to shoot some snaps and videos of the toy train itself.
Heres an outsiders view of the toy beauty
The History bit and the cute Steam Engine are from Matheran Station.
hmm so lets continue with my escapade…We finally reached Matheran in a taxi. 4 of us with 2 others cramped together in a Maruti Omni.As for me, I was sitting right next to the driver,with the gear stick right between my legs. It could have been a nightmare but the driver was not gay and so I manged to climb down unhurt and looking forward to the smallest hill station in Asia : Matheran
Matheran: now thats another story..and another day…isnt it?