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Rediff.com  » Business » Rail service for Vaishno Devi pilgrims to start soon

Rail service for Vaishno Devi pilgrims to start soon

February 12, 2014 15:22 IST

Rail service for Vaishno Devi pilgrims to start soon

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Rail connectivity to Katra, the base camp of Vaishno Devi shrine, has been completed and passenger services will start shortly, Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge said on Wednesday.

Listing out the achievements of Railways during United Progressive Alliance-II, he said the opening of the Udhampur-Katra section under the ambitious Kashmir Rail project will enable lakhs of pilgrims from across the country to visit Vaishno Devi shrine.

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Image: Devotees wait to enter the holy cave of Vaishno Devi, goddess of power, during the Navratri festival in Trikuta hills about 58 km (36 miles) north of Jammu.
Photographs: Amit Gupta SD/FA/Reuters

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"The construction has been completed and trial runs have started. We expect to run passenger train services up to Katra very shortly," he said in his Interim Railway Budget speech.

He said the Kashmir project achieved a major milestone last June when the 11.2 km-long tunnel, linking Banihal with Qazikund in the Valley, became operational.

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Image: A passenger train moves along the Jammu-Udhampur rail line on the outskirts of Jammu.
Photographs: Mukesh Gupta/Reuters

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Specially designed coaches for adverse weather conditions have been inducted for rail travel in Kashmir Valley, he said, adding corrosion resistant and lighter wagons with capability to carry extra pay-load at higher speed potential up to 100 kmph have been developed.

During the 11th Plan Period, he said railways completed 2,207 km of newlines against the target of 2000 km while rolling stock acquisitions surpassed the target and 64,875 wagons were acquired, he said.


Image: Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge with Ministers of State for Railways, K.J. Surya Prakash Reddy and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.
Photographs: Courtesy, PIB

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