Third Shatabdi to Delhi from Jan

The much awaited third Shatabdi, between Delhi and Chandigarh, will begin operating in January, Union Railways Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said on Saturday. While the exact date is yet to be finalised, the train is expected to start plying between the two cities from next month.

The new train will leave Chandigarh railway station at 12 pm and reach New Delhi at 3:30 pm. It will start its return journey from New Delhi at 7:15 pm and arrive at Chandigarh at 10:30 pm.

Currently, the first and the second Shatabdi leave for Delhi at 6:50 am and 6:45 pm and depart from Delhi at 7:40 am and 5:15 pm.

The announcement by Bansal, who along with senior officials from Delhi inspected the Chandigarh Railway Station on Saturday, should come as a relief to residents. The two Shatabdi's, that already ply on this route, run to packed capacity with the weekend witnessing an extra rush.

The afternoon Shatabdi has been a long pending demand of Chandigarh residents. While it was expected to be in this year's railway budget, that did not happen. A proposal for a double decker train to Delhi was also being looked into but it is the afternoon Shatabdi that has finally received approval.

Another proposal that is still on paper, is the plan to modernise and expand the Chandigarh Railway Station. The station, one of the five chosen to be a world class station, is yet to see any progress on the ground.

On Saturday, Bansal proposed the setting up of a food court at the station. This would be constructed near the ticket reservation centre while a waiting hall is also on the cards. The station is also set to see escalators. This will ensure that passengers on platform 2 do not have to come to platform 1 to exit as is the case now with the foot overbridge. The escalator will take people straight to the exit, both on the Chandigarh and Panchkula sides.

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