Railways resume goods train services for North Eastern states

NEW DELHI: Rail services for transporting goods to the flood-ravaged northeastern region resumed today while passenger train services are expected to restart from September 3, the railway ministry said.

Due to floods in Bihar, West Bengal and Assam, the rail link with the northeastern states was disrupted since August 12.

All trains between the northeastern states and the rest of the country pass through New Jalpaiguri in north Bengal and Katihar division in Bihar.

“The rail route connecting North Eastern region has been opened for goods traffic today. Member, traffic, reviewed the position with the General Manager and Board officials and directed that rakes loaded with essential commodities for NE be moved on priority.

“Passenger trains are expected to start from September 3,” the railway ministry said in a series of tweets.

According to officials, the floods caused extensive damage to rail tracks, bridges, culverts, communication systems and other infrastructure, with the worst affected being between Sudhani and Telta in Kishanganj district under Katihar division of the North Frontier Railways.

If goods trains pass on the repaired tracks without facing any problem, then passenger train services will be resumed, officials said.

They said it is not clear how much revenue loss the railways has incurred so far, but it had lost an estimated Rs 150 crore in the first seven days of the deluge.

Heavy rains had washed away Bridge 133 between the Telta and Sudhani stations in the Katihar division of the NFR, a zonal railways spokesperson said.

More than 15 lakh passengers could not avail train services connecting the northeastern states and north Bengal with the rest of the country owing to the disruption, he said.

A total of 821 mail and express trains were cancelled during the period due to the damage caused to the tracks at several places in the Katihar and Alipurduar divisions.

As many as 484 passenger trains were also cancelled during the period.