Linking two of the most popular pilgrim centres in the country, a weekly train between Tirupati and Shirdi was flagged off by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Saturday.
The express train would offer direct connectivity between Tirupati-Tirumala, the abode of Lord Venkateswara, and Shirdi, where the mandir of Shri Sai Baba is located, both of which attract hundreds of thousands of pilgrims throughout the year.
Prabhu said the introduction of the railway service would not only improve religious tourism but also connect two famous pilgrimage destinations of the country.
He also said the Narendra Modi Government was committed to fulfilling all promises, including modernisation of stations, customer service and quality of food offered and revamping of coach interiors, made in the Railway budget.
Train No. 17417 Tirupati-Sainagar Shirdi weekly express would depart here at 7 am on Tuesdays with effect from January 5, next year and arrive at Sainagar Shirdi at 12.15 pm the next day.
In the return direction, train No. 17418 would leave Sainagar Shirdi at 7.10 am on Wednesdays with effect from January 6, 2016 and arrive here at 11.45 am the next day.
The trains would halt in Renigunta, Koduru, Rajampeta, Nandalur, Kadapa, Yerraguntla, Muddanur, Tadipatri, Gooty, Guntakal, Adoni, Mantralayam Road, Raichur, Yadgir, Tandur, Vi-karabad, Lingampalli, Secu-nderabad, Malkajgiri, Kam-areddi, Nizamabad, Basar, Dharmabad, Mudkhed, Na-nded, Purna, Parbhani, Se-lu, Partur, Jalna, Aurang-abad, Nagarsol, Manmad, Kopargaon and Puntamba.
Inaugural train left Tirupati at 4.30 pm and would reach Sainagar Shirdi at 9 pm on Sunday, railway officials said.