NEW DELHI: Catering to the public demand, the railways Thursday launched two new train services in Kashmir Valley to enhance the rail movement in the region.
"The new train services will benefit the passengers in the Valley," Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said while launching the new passenger trains between Banihal-Baramulla and Baramulla-Budgam regions through video conferencing here.
At present 13 pairs of trains are running in the Baramulla-Budgam-Banihal section. With the addition of two more pairs, 15 pairs of train will be operational in the Valley.
Prabhu said the addition of more trains will help tourists to visit the Valley.
Union Minister Jitendra Singh, MPs Thupstan Chhewang, Jugal Kishore Sharma and Mir Mohammad Fayaz were also present at the event.
"The train services have reduced the travelling distance and time in the region and train fare is also cheaper than road transport," Prabhu said.
He said Kashmir handicrafts will also be made available in the IRCTC website.
The completion of Jammu-Udhampur railway link in 2005 and the Udhampur-Shrimata Vaishno Devi Katra in July 2014 ushered in the dawn of the new era in rail connectivity in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Budgam-Baramulla-Budgam DEMU train will run on six days a week. While the Budgam-Baramulla will run on all days except Friday, the Baramulla-Budgam will be available for six days in a week except Saturday. The enroute stoppages include Mazhom, Pattan, Hamre and Sopore stations in both the directions.
The Banihal-Baramulla-Banihal Fast DEMU train will also run on six days a week. While the Banihal-Baramulla train will not run on Saturday, the Baramulla-Banihal will not run on Friday. The enroute stoppages include Quazigund, Anantnag, Srinagar, Budgam, Mazhom, Pattan, Hamre and Sopore stations in both the directions.
The rail line in Kashmir Valley was constructed in a phased programme with the railways steadily commissioning sections between Anantnag and Mazahom in October 2008, the Mazahom-Baramulla section in February 2009, and subsequently 18 km-long section between Quazigund to Anantnag in October 2009, completing the 119 km Qazigund-Baramulla railtrack.
The commissioning of the Pir Panjal Tunnel and the opening of Banihal-Qazigund railway section has brought about greater connectivity of Jammu to the Kashmir region. At present 13 pairs of DEMU services ply on the rail sections providing all-weather connectivity in the region.
The train as a public mode of transportation has been quite popular since introduction with the railways subsequently augmenting the passenger carrying capacity of the DEMU trains.
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