Saturday, January 24, 2009

Great Train Journeys #19

Steam trains are kewl. Well, actually, pretty warm, in fact bloody hot in the summer if you are throwing coal into the fire box.

Of course I have been on our world famous Puffing Billy (what Brian? You have never heard of it?) in our Dandenong Ranges. I wrote a bit about it back here with a few photos. It is slow and laborious. I enjoyed it more just watching it pull out of the station and it is great fun to see it go over the timber trestle bridge at Monbulk.

The Nilgiri train in the clip below runs from Mettupalayam to Ootacamund (Ooty) in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Tea is grown in Ooty and the town used to be a cool Raj hill station for the British overlords when they tired of the heat, dust and dirt of the plains around Chennai (Madras).

The train is powered by a Swiss engine and assisted for part of its journey by rack and pinion to help it up inclines of up to 1 in 12.

The clip is very atmospheric in more ways than one. As the train rounds the curve in the distance, it almost seems to stall, but then gathers pace again. You certainly can tell the engine is working hard.

Speakers on now kiddies. The clip was made by Arvind Krishnan.


  1. Crikey that engine is almost bustin' it's foofer valve to get up that incline!
    Very reminiscent of Puffing Billy :)

  2. WOW, how uncanny, I was just spoeaking to a colleague and telling her I was thinking of taking the munchkins to ride the Puffing Billy :)

  3. Anonymous8:02 pm

    The puffing billy is brilliant.

  4. Is that how foofer is spelt Jayne. I have wondered about a word I have not heard for a few decades.

    Cazzie, don't forget the steam train at Drysdale, maybe a bit closer to you. Regardless, the kiddies will lover either.

    They are always looking for volunteers Reuben, and while you are between executive appointments?

  5. Don't know about Puffing Billy, but I do know Thomas the Tank Engine, whose fictional home island of Sodor, of course, was meant to be situated in Morecambe Bay just off Fleetwood.

  6. I can smell the locomotive from here. I am surprised how long it is, I was expecting to see the locomotive after the first carriage but more kept coming.

  7. It sounded like the engine was working very hard Ben.