It is difficult to get a reservation for this train BUT, if you put your name on the waiting list for a 2nd class train ticket from Mettupalayam to Ooty and buy the ticket before the date of departure. You can go to Mettupalayam the day before departure and stay at Hotel EMS Mayura (highly recommend for friendliness and cleanliness). They have a Tuk Tuk driver that will pick you up from the hotel at 5am, he will take you to the train station and position you in the line for the tickets that get released in the morning. The station master will give out tickets at about 6am but get there at 5 am to avoid disappointment.(do not wait until day of departure to buy your ticket because ticket office doesn't open until 6:30 am) The train ride is a once in a lifetime experience, it stops along the way to refill the water tank for the steam engine. We stayed at Mount 'n' Mist, the owner provided pick up service from the train station. Mount'n'Mist was our favourite hotel in India.
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