Kalka-Katra train likely to chug off by June-end

कालका Kalka (KLK): The construction of the much-awaited new Katra railway track is almost complete and the train would start running for the pilgrims to Vaishno Devi shrine by the last week of June or first week of July. After going through all the procedures, the railways board has finally given its nod to throw open the track to run the announced trains.

Two new trains are all set to kick-off from northern region, that is, New Delhi-Katra Superfast Express (No: 22461) and Kalka-Katra Express (No: 14503). While New Delhi-Katra Superfast Express will run six days in a week, Kalka-Katra Express will be available for public twice a week.

“Almost all the formalities had been completed to facilitate the kick-off of the Katra railway route and trains would soon start plying. We can’t provide an exact date right now, but the same would be possible in a week or two,” said Anil Saxena, additional director general of public relation, ministry of Indian Railways, New Delhi.

Besides the northern region, Indian Railways has also planned to run some more trains from other parts of the country to facilitate the pilgrims visit the holy shrine. Sources in the railways revealed that apart from the announcement of new train on this route, many trains presently going up to Jammu railway station will be extended to Katra to facilitate the public.

The construction of Katra railway track was announced by former Chandigarh MP and the then ministry of railways Pawan Kumar Bansal in his budgetary speech in February 2013. A direct train to Katra from Kalka railway station was a long pending demand not only by the Tricity residents, but also by the adjoining cities of the Chandigarh.