Everyday Heroes: The Train Staff that keep the Indian Railways running

Nilgiri Mountain Railways

Meet Ms. Valli and Mr. Mohana Krishnan from the Nilgiri Mountain Railway. 

Nilgiri Mountain Railway line
A five hour scenic ride on the UNESCO World Heritage site of Nilgiri Mountain Railway line will give you a feeling of romance, adventure, relaxation and beauty. The railway line exhibits picturesque beauty in the form of ravines, tea plantations, forested hills, rocky terrains that surrounds the Nilgiris. Coonoor, in the Nilgiris, is world famous for its teas and is one of the major tourist attractions of NMR. Follow a day in the lives of the people who work tirelessly with great pride for the NMR. 
Ms. Valli, Ticket Checker
Ms. Valli is a ticket checker with the Nilgiri Mountain Railway. She is multi-lingual and is a trained singer, who often entertains the travellers by singing old melodious tunes.  

Ms. Valli introduces herself

Ms. Valli is a thorough and a kind ticket checker. She takes her job very seriously. She understands that most passengers are tourists and is considerate to their needs.

Ms. Valli is the only ticket checker for the five coaches in the train. She makes her way from one coach to another at the station stops.

The coaches are not interconnected and the passengers can't move between them. It is impossible for them to escape the ticket checker.

It is always a busy time at Mettupalayam station before the steam train leaves. Passengers try to ensure that they get a seat on this iconic train.

Ms. Valli checks her records as she get onboard the train along with other passengers.

Ms. Valli is multi-lingual and is able to converse with tourists and travellers in one of the five languages.

Ms. Valli often entertains and keeps the passengers in good spirits as they travel on the NMR, between Coonoor and Mettupalayam, in the first class coach.

Trained in classical Indian music, she is able to sing popular and old songs in multiple languages. Here, she is seen singing a Tamil song in the general coach.

The sight of the ticket checker singing is both entertaining and amusing for travellers. Many people often film her on their phones as she sings.

Mr. Mohana Krishnan, Senior brakeman
Mr. Mohana Krishnan works as a senior brakeman at the Nilgiri Mountain Railway. Brakemen are the eyes of the train and the engine driver. They keenly observe the tracks and ensure that there is no debris or wild animal on the tracks.

Through almost all of the three hour journey, the brakemen are constantly standing and looking out for danger. They have the ability and the power to stop the train in case they see danger ahead.

They inspect the tracks in the dark tunnel with the attached headlight and warn people and wildlife about the train's arrival using a horn.

One of the interesting features along the route is this half-excavated tunnel. Mr. Krishnan claims it looks like a monkey's face.

No matter what the weather conditions are, senior brakemen, like Mr. Krishnan, are actively doing their jobs. They signal to the engine driver using green or red flags if the way forward is clear.

Credits: All media
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