One of the best experiences in Ooty is taking a toy train from Mettupalayam to Ooty. In the excitement of taking that train, there is this one museum most people miss at the Mettupalayalam station or read as, I didn’t get the ticket so I found this one while wondering what to do next.
So after visiting Vaidyagrama, I took an evening train from Coimbatore to Mettupalayam. The toy train from Mettupalayam starts at 7 am from this station and the online booking gets filled months prior. Somewhere on the internet, I read that tickets are available offline at the station too. The entire train I came on rushed to form a queue for the general normal tickets and in no time it was full. There is only one train that goes all the way from Mettupalayam till Ooty. And that is the best route you can enjoy the ride.
Having the tickets sold out, I decided to go to Ooty by bus and before leaving the station, I met the assistant engineer there and had a quick chat about the hacks of getting the tickets. I think it’ll be better to write a separate post all about the toy train and the time we finally did travel on the toy train.
In this blog, let me share with you the train museum that is normally ignored by everyone but has a good collection of many antique pieces from the colonial times.
A Little Bit About The Toy Train
But before we go to the museum, there are few pics of the Toy train that starts at Mettupalayam station. The toy train service is a heritage thing than the transportation facility. Still using the same old techniques, the pollution caused by these trains are huuuge. But the places it goes through has a breathtaking view.
When I was there in the early morning, the station was filled with tourists and it happens that there was a tourist week celebration also going on since it was the Navarathri holiday season.
To get a shot of only train in the starting was very difficult since everyone is trying to do the same and posing with the train. The train looks pretty in a royal navy colour with the little metal stars and number and everything. An official stayed at the door to issue the tickets and fill the compartments in order.
Soon enough the tickets got over and everyone started to check for the next best options. The train maintenance staff were busy in doing their job, oiling the metal parts and their routine work. It was a sight to see the steam shoot from a metal pipe above the train.
Every other staff at the station pay huge deal of attention to the smooth functioning of the train and its service. The train left the station and I thought of going to the museum before leaving for the bus station.
Train Museum Mettupalayam
It was still early in the day and I was wondering if the museum would be open, but to my surprise they have a very early working hour that suits the departure of the train from the station. So, when I went inside, I was the only one in the museum and the whole place was clean.
The museum is a well stored memory of an old era both technologically speaking and the state of the country. Starting from the different parts of the rail services to the fuel used, the information are displayed in small boards attached to each of the item.
The Nigiris mountain railways operate on an alternative tooth biting system. Today, this is one of the only existing and functioning rail service using that technology. Different parts and pieces of this system is displayed in one section.
Then there are different mundane items on display but the mere antique look of it makes a lot of difference. Like the metal cash chests, lanterns and petromax lamps to the telegram machines and typewriter, it felt like I'm living in an old English movie, a boring and slow one though but with all the vintage set up!
What got my attention the most was this wall. It says Coonoor and that place is one of my secret love for almost 3 years now. Like everything about Coonoor made me blush and happy with no reason at all. However, this wall instantly brought into imagination of a tall white dude with the very British mustache of those times in a tennis costume, a grumpy person though.
Moving on, there were many such items in the museum from the cabins and many such. I love the colours of them, the subtle pastel colours on the metal. They add a lot more beauty to these very normal things.
They also had pictures from the old times. In those pictures were the pictures of the tribes in the Nigiris. That was a good kind of information for me since I was very much interested in learning more about them. Maybe, that is the only reason I thought of making a stop at Ooty.
The museum is really interesting and to someone who is interested in exploring the history, this place is worth a visit.
Mettupalayam Railway Station
There are a few other things that make up the Mettupalayam station experience for me. Be it the poori and subji suggested by the staff there or the lamp post. The tracks that go winding with each other to infinity or the old-style platform. This little railway station was the start of my experience of a heavily colonized area in India.
Well, I took a bus to Ooty from the nearest bus station. The interesting fact is the bus reaches Ooty in 2 hours and the toy train makes it there in 5 hours. But its the heritage train experience that matters and compensates for the time difference.
The bus ride for me was really good, I love the hairpin roads and a lot of monkeys on the way. The landscape started to change as we started to climb up the hills and it was the most beautiful experience to see huge rocks that get revealed from the fog as we went up.
Next stop Ooty.