“I like trains. I like their rhythm, and I like the freedom of being suspended between two places, all anxieties of purpose taken care of: for this moment I know where I am going.”
― Anna Funder, Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall
Every time we are on a train journey it brings back a lot of fond memories of our childhood. One of the most unique memories of a train journey is the excitement one feels while crossing a rail tunnel. If you want to feel the same ecstasy again than visiting Natuwadi tunnel on the Konkan railway line is your best bet. The Konkan railways running through Mumbai and Mangalore are one of the greenest and the most pictorial routes you can embark on. The Rocky Mountains, the sun-drenched paddy fields, the full of life villages and shimmering rivers that join the sea will transport you to a world of fantasy and delight.
Konkan railway line runs for a total space of 741 kilometres along the west coast of India. This helps in connecting the two coastal cities of Mumbai and Mangalore. Before the establishment of this line, the people travelling to these coastal settlements had to either travel through roads or inland, which meant a lot of travel time and expense. To the relief and comfort of everyone the railway track was finally created in the year 1989 and controlled by the Konkan railway corporation of India. It now carries both freight and passengers.
While moving through this line you will come across a total of 91 tunnels and more than two thousand bridges. The second longest tunnel in this route is the Natuwadi tunnel, Karbude tunnel being the longest here. Built in the year 1997, a 4.3 kilometres long, Natuwadi tunnel is part of the beautiful and rounded path of the Konkan Railway line. You will come across this tunnel as number 6 in this direction if you are travelling from Mumbai. This tunnel is found between Karanjadi and Diwan Khawati rail stations in the Maharashtrian segment of the Konkan route. It is an object of great pride and honour for Indian Railways. The modern technologies used to make this tunnel are definitely praise worthy. An engineering marvel in the lap of nature is truly a magical sight.
Laying a railway track in this area was not an easy task owing to the uneven landscape and the challenging weather of the Western Ghats. The steep rocks, loose boulders, rivers and rivulets put up quite a dare to the engineers hard at work. With the uneven slopes and Ghats, it was necessary to level the irregular surface first before planning to build a railway track there. The evacuation was a difficult process as the tunnel kept caving in and the workers had to keep on doing the same work over and over again. These challenges were overcome by the then Chairman and managing director Mr. E Shreedharan and his expert team.
The mesmerizing hills of the Western Ghats and the lush green that surrounds you throughout the ride is any tourists dream come true. So if you are a travel buff like me and would like to explore India with minimum expense then train journeys are for you. Once you are ready to embark on a train ride with waterfalls and dark tunnels then travelling through Konkan Railway route is one of the enigmatic experiences you will have in this country. While on your adventure through the Konkan route you must look out for the Natuwadi tunnel to see a rare mix of technology and natural beauty.