Agra: Preparations for the launch of Gatimaan, India’s fastest train, which will run on the New Delhi-Agra route, have hit a roadblock apparently because the Railways is still figuring out how to keep stray animals away from the semi-high speed train’s tracks.
The train, which will run at a speed of 160 km/hr, was scheduled for launch on November 30 last year, but nagging issues have consistently delayed its flagging off. And now, stray animals have emerged as its latest stumbling block.
In Agra on an inspection visit, A K Mital, Chairman, Railway Board, said that Railways was doing a survey to identify areas which needed to be fenced with barbed wires in order to keep the tracks out of the reach of animals. “After the work is completed, and the Commission of Railway Safety gives a clearance that no animals can trespass on the route, the Gatimaan Express can be flagged off,” he said. He refused to specify when the work is expected to be completed.
Meanwhile, the Agra division of North Central Railways is going to convert 77 unmanned level crossings into manned ones on the Agra-Bateshwar- Etawah route.
The route was one of the dream projects of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who wanted to connect his home town Bateshwar with Agra. At present, the route is not operational and railway tracks are being laid out. In another announcement, DRM, Agra announced plans to install escalators on the platforms of Agra Fort station. At present, only Agra cantonment station has escalators.