Munnar Railway

Munnar Railway, also known as Kundala Valley Railway, is the first monorail system in India which was built in 1902 by British tea estate owners with help of British government. The Railway was operational from 1902 to 1924 until a massive flood commonly known as “flood of 99” devastated railway network completely. The damage was irrecoverable and required huge investment to restart the railway network and finally abandoned. The major objective of the railway was to transport tea and other products from Munnar to Top Station and from there to Kottagudi in Tamilnadu via rope way. Top Station which is famous for Neelakurinji blossoms every twelve years is the highest point of Munnar. Top Station was the highest terminal of both Kottaguruddi ropeway and Kundala Valley Railway. Eventhough the remains of the first monorail system is not exist in Munnar today except some old buildings, the monorail system can be seen in Indian National Rail Museum, New Delhi. The National Rail Museum has been showing partly road-borne monorail which uses Ewing system since 2013. It is the original replica of Patiala State Monorail Trainways(PSMT), second monorail system in India after Kundala Valley Railway.

From 1902 to 1908, monorail was powered by bullocks and horses imported from outside the country. From 1908 onwards, bullocks and horses were replaced by steam engines. All the tea and other products collected from remote areas were brought to Munnar and Mattupetti railway stations by bullock carts.

Munnar Railway Tourism

Munnar is the largest and busiest tourism destination in Kerala. It was a summer destination of British colonial administrators and planters. Ideally sits at an altitude of 6000 ft on the southern part of Western Ghat mountain in Idukki district of Kerala. Blessed with natural beauty of lush green tea plantations, presence of exotic flora and fauna and pleasant weather add Munnar a crowded leisure destination in Kerala. Top Station is the highest point in Munnar with an altitude of 1700m from the sea level which was the end of Munnar Railway. It is a preferred tourism spot in Munnar. Top Station is well known for it charming and scenic beauty during the blossom time of Neelakurinji which is a duodecennial flowering plant. It blossoms only once in every twelve years and huge crowd flock to Munnar from different part of tha country. The main railway station of Kundala Valley now serves as a regional office of TATA Tea.

There is an Aluminium bridge in Munnar which resembles like a railway bridge, still can spot in Munnar.

Resumption of Railway

After one hundred years of disappearance, Government is thinking to re-establish Munnar Railway for boosting tourism activities in partnership with Kannan Devan Tea Plantations Company. A five kilometer long railway track which is planned and preliminary feasibility studies have been finished.

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