Train Travel

The Enchanting Beauty Of Melattur Railway Station

Its a while since trains went through this station due to the lockdown. Nature has reclaimed this space while showcasing its enchanting beauty.

The Shoranur-Nilambur railway line was laid by the British in 1921 to transport teak wood and rosewood from Ooty in Tamil Nadu. The English felled hundreds of teak trees during World War II and took away portions of the line when they had a shortage of steel. The line was restored by Indian Railways in 1954.

Melattur railway station is a minor railway station serving the town of Melattur in the Malappuram District of Kerala. It lies on scenic Nilambur – Shoranur Line of Palakkad Division, Southern Railways, Indian railways. The Nilambur–Shoranur railway line is a branch line of the Southern Railway Zone in Kerala state and one of the shortest broad gauge railway lines in India. It is a single line with 66 kilometres length running from Shoranur Junction (in Palakkad district) to Nilambur Railway Station (in Malappuram district). This station is 4 km from the town of Nilambur on the Kozhikode–Ooty highway. – Source – Wikipedia.

The station has a thick population of Gulmohar (Royal Poinciana) trees which are popular for its dark green foliage and scarlet red flowers. These trees bloom in summer and they shed flowers during the subsequent pre-monsoon season. What a treat to see these flowers spread all over the station, amidst olive green foliage and cloudy skies. Here are some of the photographs taken by Indiarailinfo.

Sit & view – Melattur
Flowery Red Carpet – Melattur
Nature’s red carpet welcome – Melattur
Enchanting Melattur
Railway Ministers Tweet – December 2019
Melattur Station

Train Travel

The forgotton train

Till 2016, a train going by name of Shakuntalal Express ran between the stations of Yavatmal and Achalpur in the cotton growing areas of Maharasthtra, India. This was India’s last operational private train.

Killick, Nixon and Company, set up in 1857, created the Central Provinces Railway Company (CPRC) to act as its agents. The company built the 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) narrow-gauge line in 1903.[1] The company built this narrow-gauge line in 1903 to carry cotton from cotton-rich interior areas of Vidarbha to the Murtajapur Junction on main broad gauge line to Mumbai from where it was shipped to Manchester, England. In 1920 line from Darwha-Pusad was dismantled. Though, working autonomously, the CPRC was grouped in 1952 under the Central Railways. A ZD-steam engine, built in 1921 in Manchester, pulled the train for more than 70 long years after being put in service in 1923. It was withdrawn on 15 April 1994, and replaced by a diesel engine. (Source Wikipedia) The steam locomotive now rests in a shed in Pune, in north-western Maharashtra.

In 2016, Indian Railways cleared a proposal to take over the narrow gauge line and convert it into broad gauge at an estimated cost of Rs 1,500 crore. However, no progress has been made on this project. There are also a string of legal wrangles that need to be sorted out with CRPC.

Shakuntala Express running on a steam engine

London-based train enthusiast David Breaker formed a Shakuntala Railway Society and Shakuntala Protection Committee in 2002.

With the help of rail enthusiasts and historians in India, the committee aims to save the Shakuntala Express. The committee is toying with the idea of running daily diesel trains for local people, and weekend “steam specials” to restore the vintage steam train to its former glory.

So for now, Shakuntala Railways is all but forgotton.

Good old days
Track lever