Nilgiris Mountain Railway turned World Heritage on July 15

Nilgiri Mountain Railway

July 15 marks the eleventh anniversary of Nilgiri Mountain Railway (NMR) being accorded the status of a world heritage. It was in July 15, 2005 at 29th session of the World Heritage Committee at Durban, South Africa, that approval was given for the inclusion of NMR with the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway(DHR), which had already been declared a heritage and rename the two as Mountain Railways of India.

To mark the occasion Nilgiri Documentation Centre proposes to distribute special key chains to the travelers with the picture of the railway on one side and short description of it on the other.

The heritage committee acknowledged that while ‘DHR was basically a roadside tramway with no notable structures and experimental in nature, the NMR was altogether more substantial affair’. Stating that the Abt rack system of NMR makes the climb far more quickly and on steeper grades, the committee observed that “there are few other Abt rack railways in the world, and none so authentic throughout”.

According to international comparative assessment, NMR was the most original and one of the largest rack-and-pinion railways in the world. The NMR was an almost perfect example of the Abt rack system as it was at the height of its development.

NMR was a unique example of construction genius employed by Railway engineers in the later part of 19th century. “As an example of the transfer of rack railway technology to remote locations outside Europe, the NMR is certainly the outstanding remaining example in the world, in terms of its scale, authenticity, continuity and presentation. As an ensemble, with its impeccably maintained permanent way; its elegant, original stations and associated buildings, and its large proportion of old rolling stock and locomotives, it is genuinely outstanding, even unique”, according to the assessment of the committee.

Dharmalingam Venugopal

The Honorary Director of the Nilgiri Documentation Centre is Dharmalingam Venugopal, a native of Nilgiris, an Economist and an Environmental Activist and founder of Save Nilgiris Campaign and Managing Trustee of Nilgiris Documentation Centre.

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