Ooty Railway station site selection

(The following report is based on a Letter to the Editor in the Indian Engineering dated September 3,1904 by a local well wisher). 

There was first the selection of Mettucherry for the purpose by Sir Arthur Havelock (Governor) who did so after receiving a deputation of the leading residents of the town and discussing with them the claims and facilities of various sites. After Arthur left the country, two other sites were advocated, one at the Charing Cross and one adjoining the Hobart Park. The former by  Lord Ampthill (the new Governor) himself and the latter by Mr.de Winton, the Consulting Engineer.

Charing cross was preferred but soon objections to it were raised by the Collector and a plebiscite was taken which voted with the Collector. One of the objections was that it would need a reversing station at Burnfoot which would make it expensive when the line is extended to Gudalur.

In the meantime, the Collector and the Municipality  had decided to set up  a native town in Kandal. The native population which was  resisting tooth and nail the Kandal shceme petitioned the government to adhere to its order in favour  of Charing Cross.

But the  Government again, resolved to abandon Charing Cross and revert to Sir Arthur Havelock’s original choice of Metucherry. It was thought that this was final, and that Metucherry would  become the site of railway activity as the Municipality were  already considering steps for the acquisition of private lands.

Meantime Mr. de Winton discovered that the Metucherry site was too

limited and will not provide for a goods shed of sufficient dimensions to meet the exigencies of an expanding passenger and goods traffic,

and  proposed, therefore, that the terminus should be about a mile out of Ootacamund on the Coonoor Road, in the vicinity of the spot where the aqueduct formerly stood (near Nondimedu) and where he calculated that the necessary land for all railway purposes was available.

Ultimately, the station came up in the site originally proposed by the Consulting Engineer.

Nilgiri Documentation Centre

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