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Special trains from Delhi for Indo-Pak matches

Onkar Singh in New Delhi/PTI | March 19, 2004 11:25 IST
Last Updated: March 19, 2004 14:11 IST

A special train carrying over 600 cricket lovers from the capital and other parts of India would leave the Old Delhi Railway Station for Lahore at 9.50pm on Friday.

"We had to run special trains as Pakistan has told us that during the days of the matches, no one would be allowed to cross the Wagah border in Amritsar district of Punjab. We are going to run two special trains for cricket enthusiasts on March 19 and March 22. These would return on March 22 and March 25, respectively," Davinder Pal Singh Sandhu, chief public relations officer of Northern Railways, told rediff.com.

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The train would stop in Amritsar for half-an-hour and pick up about 150 people before proceeding to Attari where the passengers would shift to a Pakistani train, which would take them to Lahore.

"We have opened special counters in Delhi, Amritsar and Attari for cricket enthusiasts. Only those with valid tickets (to the matches) and visas have been given reservations on the train," Sandhu said.

A team of senior officials of the Indian Railways is expected to accompany each of the two special trains, each of which would have 15 bogies, including one air-conditioned coach.

Delhi Transport Corporation is also running additional buses to Lahore on March 19 and March 22 for those who want to watch the fourth and fifth one-day international matches. "We have made adequate arrangements to meet the rush," a senior DTC official said.

Meanwhile, a large number of cricket fans arrived on Friday at a special two-day visa camp for those keen to travel to Pakistan for the ongoing India-Pakistan cricket series.

A four-member team of officials from the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi had arrived in Amritsar late on Thursday night to run the two-day special camp, the first such facility in Amritsar.

"We will work here day and night for issuing visas for the two ODI matches to be played in Lahore on March 21 and 24 to cricket lovers who are keen to visit Pakistan," Khalid Jamali of the Commission told reporters. He is in Amritsar with three other officials.

About 1,000 cricket fans have thronged the camp being run in the Irrigation Department Rest house at Cheharta on the outskirts of Amritsar. Tight security arrangements have been made at the venue.

The visa fee would be Rs 15 and the counter would remain open till late night unless all those in the queue are cleared.

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