Railways conduct trial run of Udhampur-Katra train
Katra (Kashmir Valley) – Railway authorities in Katra have carried out a trial run of a newly constructed railway line that has been built for improving connectivity in the Kashmir Valley.
“The trial run was conducted using Departmental and Materials Train (DMT). It is helping in placing concrete on the track. The train will have 53 wagons. The work will go on for another five to seven days. Very soon the people will be able to travel,” said Sanjay Kumar Gaur, a guard at the Jammu headquarters of the Railways.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is likely to inaugurate the railway line in January.
On December 7, railway authorities successfully ran a light power engine from Udhampur District to the town of Katra.
Traffic inspector Rajeev Sabarwal said: “The railway administration will decide when to start the service. We may conduct two more trial runs. We are waiting for authorisation from the Centre for a railway information systems officer. After the authorisation, the administration will decide the date.”
The 25-kilometre stretch between Udhampur and Katra is under construction, and once operational, the track would provide direct connectivity to Katra. It would be beneficial for those visiting Vaishno Devi.
The train service was announced in this year’s Railway Budget. While several other trains have already been started, the commencement of this train is awaited.
A survey on the project was conducted in 1998, but the groundwork started in 1999 setting 2005 as deadline to connect Katra, with the rest of the country.
The construction work, however, came to a halt in 2006 when engineers came across a water body in the middle of the alignment of the 2.4 km long tunnel and the design of the tunnel had to be changed.
Around 80 per cent of the route runs through tunnels and bridges and the terrain is so tough that the engineers along with ancillary workers faced lot of geological challenges due to which work got delayed.