PALAMPUR: The Kangra rail line, which plays a significant role in the economy of the region, is in bad shape. Thanks to the apathy of the Railways, which made no efforts in the past 70 years to convert the 120-km rail track into a broad gauge line.
The British had laid the track in 1932, linking all important and religious towns of Kangra and part of Mandi district. It is stated that the main object to lay the track was to carry heavy equipment for the installation of first-ever hydro powerhouse at Jogindernagar.
Unfortunately, the Railways has not added even a single brick to the track all these years. A number of plans was drawn up to convert the narrow gauge line into a broad gauge line, but all remained confined to files. The same century-old and outdated engines and coaches have been plying on the track. The authorities could not even introduce the regular first-class compartment here.
At present, seven trains ply on the route daily, covering 33 stations and passing through important places like Nurpur, Jwali, Jwalamukhi, Kangra, Nagrota Bagwan, Chamunda, Palampur, Baijnath and Jogindernagar, which are also the major tourists attractions.
The condition of the rail track between Pathankot and Jogindernagar has gone from bad to worse in the past 10 years as the authorities have no funds to repair the same. Several small and big bridges are in bad shape. The retaining walls on the track have developed cracks. Logs of the rail line have already lived their life, but no efforts were made to replace the same, which could result in a tragedy. Residential quarters and railway station buildings are also crying for repair.
Track was laid in 1932
- Kangra is situated at the foothills of the Himalayas. It attracts lakhs of tourists every year. If the rail services are improved and better amenities provided to passengers, the tourists would start travelling by train.
- The British had laid the track in 1932, linking all important and religious towns of Kangra and part of Mandi district. It is stated that the main object to lay the track was to carry heavy equipment for the installation of first-ever hydro powerhouse in Jogindernagar.
- 7 trains ply on the route daily
- 33 stations are covered, including major tourists attractions