Chandigarh-Ludhiana rail link opens, goods train first to run

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As many as 16 years after it was approved, the much-delayed Chandigarh-Ludhiana rail link became operational on Thursday. A goods train was plied on the 112-km-long track. The train embarked on its journey at 5.45 pm in the presence of railway officials.

The rail link was approved in 1997-98 and the work had started in the year 2000. However, since then the work had been hitting several hurdles including problems in land acquisition and shortage of material. The work picked up pace after the local MP Pawan Kumar Bansal was given charge of the Railway Ministry.

The passenger trains once shifted to the track would take one and a half hours to cover the distance between Chandigarh and Ludhiana. The track would reduce the journey time of the train by half an hour. At present, the trains including the Superfast Express between Chandigarh and Amritsar, have to take a detour.

The construction of the track has been done in three phases. The first phase between Chandigarh and Morinda was completed in September 2006 and opened for traffic. Phase-II which involved construction of third line from Sahnewal to Ludhiana on a 17 km stretch, was opened for traffic in November 2012. On January 15 this year, the trial run of engine on the 38 km stretch of New Morinda-Madpur station was conducted. The trial run of the engine on the whole track was completed around a fortnight back

Station Superintendent Praveen Kumar said, "A goods train was plied on the track signalling the opening of the track. Very soon, the passenger trains would be shifted to this track. Some new trains are also likely to ply here. The track would reduce the time taken by the trains to complete their journey."

In the Rail Budget announced on February 26, there are several trains that have been proposed that would depart and terminate in Chandigarh or pass through the city. Some of these would ply on the Chandigarh Ludhiana track. Among these is the proposed train from Kalka to Katra. The new train to be started between Chandigarh and Amritsar as well as the one that is currently plying would also ply on this track.

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