Final Trial Run conducted on Udhampur-Katra rail link amid prayers

Udhampur (UHP):  The much awaited trial run on Udhampur-Katra rail link was conducted today amid special prayers under the supervision of senior officials of Northern Railways in Udhampur district of Jammu and Kashmir.

The project ‘officially’ started when Northern Railways General Manage V K Gupta today arrived Udhampur in a special train and flagged off the trial run to Katra rail link amid prayers.

“This will be the final trial run and in case there will be any technical snag in the functioning, it will be repaired as early as possible,” they added.

However, once the rail to Katra will ‘officially’ start operating after being inaugurated by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in January next year, it will directly connect with Delhi, Chandigarh and Ahmadabad.

“Though, no final date for inauguration has been fixed so far, but the project to be inaugurated likely by the Prime Minister in January,” sources said.

They said a proposal has already been sent to Delhi seeking five more trains for extension of coverage to Central, Southern, Eastern and Western regions and added that besides, three pairs of DMUs have also been requisitioned for Udhampur-Katra track as are being presently run on Jammu-Udhampur track.

“The most difficult challenges faced included a water body found during construction of tunnel number 3 and the collapse of 3-km portion of tunnel number 1 near Udhampur as well as seepage in three other tunnels beyond Katra,” they said.

The construction work, however, was brought to halt in 2006 when engineers came across a water body in the middle of the alignment of the 2.4 km long tunnel no. 3 and the design of the tunnel had to be changed.

In 2011, work was once again stopped when tunnel number 1 collapsed and other tunnels also faced seepage problem.

Earlier, the inauguration of the railway track by the Prime Minster in June this year was postponed because after some technical snags along the track was detected.

The rail link between Udhampur and Katra was previously scheduled to be completed by 2005. The 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.

Katra Railway station stands already completed with modern facilities including tourist guide counter, cloak room, waiting hall, VIP lounge, escalators and lifts, besides parking space on either side.