Image Source: Himanshu Sarpotdar - Flickr
If you have ever dreamt of travelling on the ‘Choo Choo Train’ as a child nor if ‘Thomas: The Tank Engine’ was your favourite cartoon character; chances are that you are just as fascinated by trains even today! Embark on a joyride of a lifetime on the Matheran Toy Train! The charming train runs along the Neral to Matheran route and climbs up the cheerful hillsides on a narrowly snaking route. The toy train covers a distance of 21km and travels across the rich and lush forests hugging the hills of Matheran.
This romantic railway ride is the pride and joy of this charming hill station that is enveloped in the beauty of forests, rich wildlife and a diverse range of flora and fauna. However, the best part about Matheran is that vehicles of all kinds are banned here, making it a pollution free, relaxing and peaceful getaway from the city.
The construction of this heritage train service was started in the year 1901 by a philanthropist Sir Adamjee Peerbhoy, who loved coming to Matheran for his summer getaway. The young lad wanted to build a train route that would make it easier to visit his preferred hill station. Thus, construction ran for almost 6 years and costed a whopping 16 lakh,a fairly exorbitant sum for that era. However, thanks to his efforts and the engineer’s painstaking manual labour, the toy train was inaugurated for its firs ride in the year 1907, making it a heritage that is almost 108 years old!
Starting at Neral, the toy train easily covers the distance between the high hills of Matheran in about 2 hours and pauses at a few stations on the way before its final halt at Matheran. The train also goes through a small tunnel on the way quirkily called, ‘One Kiss Tunnel’! The tunnel runs for a length of few feet.
How to get to Neral:
Image Source: ganuullu - Flickr
The first question that would naturally pop up in your minds if you are NOT a Mumbaikar, is, how does one get to Neral? You can get to the station of origin using any one of the following routes:
- Take a train from CST to Khopoli or Karjat station. Both, the slow and fast trains, halt at Neral on their way to the final station.
- You can also get a train from Dadar, Kurla, Ghatkopar, Thane, Kalyan, Dombivali, Ambernath or Shelu.
- Once you come to Neral, get over to the other side of the station to catch the toy train to Matheran station.
Things to keep in mind:
Himanshu Sarpotdar - Flickr
- Make sure you book in advance on the authorized website of Neral Toy Train, and IRCTC.
- Do not carry any wasteful substances and make sure you keep the area around you clean and litter free.
- In case you miss the toy train for some reason, you can also take a shared taxi to Matheran from the Neral Station.