Railways to address Safety concerns before opening Katra route

Katra:  Railways today said the train service to Katra, which is the base camp for pilgrims going to Vaishnodevi shrine, will be started shortly after addressing concerns raised by Commissioner Railway Safety during recent inspection.

The 25-km-long Udhampur-Katra section is awaiting green signal from the CRS after inspection for becoming operational.

“Some deficiencies are always found during every inspection and we try to address them and after that train is allowed to run. So, if any deficiencies are found, we will address them within a week and after that train will run,” Chairman Railway Board (CRB) Arunendra Kumar said here.

The CRS, Northern Zone, carried out the inspection on the Udhampur-Katra section last week.
Asked whether any deficiencies were found in bridges during the CRS inspection, Kumar said, “For the CRS inspection, you cannot expect everything will be okay in the very first inspection. If he (CRS) finds something that has to be corrected, it will be done. He has done the inspection and he has to give us the report.

“Whenever a CRS inspection is done, they give their report and whatever they would observe and suggest, it will be done,” he said.

About the possible date for the inauguration of the new line, Kumar said “it would be as early as possible.”

The train connectivity to Katra is part of the ambitious Kashmir rail link project and has been executed at an estimated cost of Rs 1,050 crore.

The 25-km stretch to Katra is an engineering marvel as the route has seven tunnels, 29 minor and nine major bridges with some of the bridges as high as 85 metres.

“It was a challenging task to construct tunnels, bridges and lay track in that difficult terrain. We have to ensure safety of passengers,” the chairman said.

To begin with, two trains — Delhi-Katra Express and Kalka-Katra Express —  will run on the section. More trains are expected to be added in the coming months.