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PM Modi to inaugurate train to Vaishno Devi before Rail Budget

The 25-km long Udhampur-Katra rail section in J&K is slated to be inaugurated by this month-end by PM along with Railway Minister Gowda.

By: Press Trust of India | New Delhi | Updated: June 22, 2014 9:43 am
PM Modi rides a pony during his visit to Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in Katra while poll campaigning. (Source: PTI) PM Modi rides a pony during his visit to Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in Katra while poll campaigning. (Source: PTI)

After missing several deadlines, Railways has finally got the mandatory safety clearance from the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) to commission the much-awaited train service to Katra, the base camp of Mata Vaishno Devi shrine, before the Rail Budget 2014-15.

The 25-km long Udhampur-Katra rail section in Jammu and Kashmir is slated to be inaugurated by this month-end by Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda. The CRS had conducted the inspection of the Udhampur- Katra line, constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 1,050 crore, for three days from January 27.

There were certain issues raised by the CRS and the mandatory clearance was obtained this month after those were addressed, said a senior Railway Ministry official. Although a date for opening of the Katra line is yet to be finalised, it will most probably be before the Rail Budget as all preparations for the inaugural run are almost complete, the official added.

The NDA government’s first Rail Budget is expected to be presented on July 9. Ahead of that exercise, railways has hiked passenger fares by 14.2 per cent. There has been a trial run of the Udhampur- Katra service after it got the CRS clearance.

The 53km-long Jammu-Udhampur rail line is already operational and once the Udhampur-Katra line, which is a part of the Kashmir rail link project, is made operational, the trains will be able to come up to Katra directly. That would enable pilgrims headed to the Vaishno Devi shrine to travel directly to the base camp at Katra.

Railways is considering extending Jammu Mail and Sampark Kranti trains up to Katra, besides introducing new trains, including Katra-Kalka Express, Delhi Sarai Rohilla-Udhampur Express, and Ahmedabad-Udhampur Express. According to the official, there are demands from several zones for train services to Katra.

A set of local trains from Jammu to Katra and Pathankot to Katra are also likely to be introduced to cater to the rush of Mata Vaishno Devi pilgrims from Jammu and Pathankot to Katra.

An estimated 10 million devotees visit the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine every year. The line to Katra has seven tunnels and over 30 small and big bridges. Katra station has been completed with modern facilities, including tourist guide counter, cloak room, waiting hall, VIP lounge, escalators and lifts and parking space on either side.

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  1. G
    Gaurav Pandhi
    Jul 4, 2014 at 2:14 am
    Super! It's a gift for Vaishno Mata pilgrims. People of India & especially the Jammu region will never forget this contribution of the previous Congress Govt.It's Manmohan Singh's Govt that had the vision for this train, started this project, completed with all the dedication but u fortunately could not innaugrate.
    1. N
      Jun 22, 2014 at 11:34 am
      Great, and well overdue!!
      1. E
        Ek Free
        Jul 1, 2014 at 10:30 am
        Nice achievement by Indian govt. hope they could provide us convenient journey and basic amenities..... Because in our country Hindu pilgrims are treated like.....( what to say you all know)Any ways let's hope for the best....Jai Mata Di
        1. R
          Jun 22, 2014 at 8:33 am
          I hope someone does an analysis of numbers to vaishno Devi.. There are ecological consequences to an ever increasing traffic to the mountains? We have seen the consequences of stampedes to other places of worship
          1. V
            Vishal Kulshreshtha
            Jun 24, 2014 at 3:30 am
            Seems Good, but certain area of people will going to loose their business...e.g. Transport/Taxies upto Jammu to Katra or vice-verse........Restaurants & Hotels in between....and lot of many things.........point is... no jobs are there except these small businesses. Otherwise fantastic decision by Railway & Govt..
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