Kalka-Katra train likely to start early next year

The Kalka-Katra train is scheduled to run twice a week

The Kalka-Katra train that was announced in the Railways Budget is likely to start plying early next year. The engine run on the Udhampur to Katra stretch was conducted on December 4. A series of test runs would be conducted in the coming days. Thereafter the final clearance for the track would be given.

The 53-kilometre Jammu-Udhampur line is already operational. It is the 25 kilometre stretch between Udhampur and Katra that was under construction. Once operational, the track would provide direct connectivity to Katra. It would be beneficial for those visiting Vaishno Devi shrine.

The train was among the many trains announced in the Railway Budget this year. While several other trains have already been started, commencement of this train is awaited. Officials informed that the Katra station is complete and would become operational when the track is ready.

Naresh Sharma, chief Public Relations Officer, Northern Railways, said, "The engine run has been conducted. Inspection by CRS is yet to take place. Once the tests are complete and the track gets clearance it would become operational. It is expected that by early next year the train would be started."

The Kalka-Katra train would pass through Chandigarh. Several trains that were announced during the Railway Budget either start or terminate at Chandigarh. These included a new train to Amritsar, another to Shirdi and a train to Hazoor Sahib. Within the past two months, four new trains have been flagged off from the city.

The tentative schedule of the Kalka-Katra train was part of the train timetable released by the Railways in July this year. As per the schedule, the train would be biweekly. It would depart from Kalka on Tuesdays and Fridays at 7 pm and arrive at Katra the next day at 7.50 am. It will leave from Katra on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 9.30 pm and reach Kalka at 4.45 pm.

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