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Train chugs to Katra, PM to inaugurate link next month
JAMMU, Dec 9: Prior to finalisation of scheduled flagging off ceremony of rail link to the holy town of Katra Northern Railways on Monday conducted mandatory trial run on 25 kilometers Udhampur-Katra stretch.

The fourteen bogies train with General Manager Northern Railway V K Gupta and various sectional heads on board reached Katra Railway Station at 10.00 AM. It crossed T-1 tunnel which created lots of hurdles earlier and Jhajjar Bridge which has a height of 82 meters, 10 meters more than the height of Qutab-Minar.

Northern Railways General Manager V K Gupta personally supervised the entire exercise after arriving in Udhampur in a special train this morning at 6.00 AM from Delhi in this special train.

After inspecting arrangements at Udhampur Railway Station, Gupta went to the North Portal of T-1 tunnel to perform ‘Pooja’. Then the special train entered the T-1 tunnel at around 8.45 AM. T-1 is tunnel the longest tunnel on this track with length of 3.1 kilometers. This tunnel had leakage of water which led to delay in operation of this project over the years.

As of now Prime Minister is expected to flag off the train to Katra in January 2014 but the final date of the ceremony is yet to be finalised.

Talking to reporters, GM Northern Railways expressed satisfaction over the construction work and said that the work is almost complete. He said that regular trains will chug on this 25 kilometers track soon.

All the sectional heads are inspecting the respective works here today will submit their report to him and he will further submit it to the Railway Parliamentary Board. Thereafter, Commissioner Railway Safety (CRS) will conduct inspection and it is only after CRS clearance, that the route will be given green signal, railways sources said, adding that railway authorities are expected to start trains linking Delhi, Chandigarh and Ahmedabad with Katra once the route is formally operationalised.

The railways authorities claimed a proposal has already been sent to Delhi seeking five more trains for extension of coverage to Central, Southern, Eastern and Western regions and added that besides, three pairs of DMUs have also been requisitioned for Udhampur-Katra track as are being presently run on Jammu-Udhampur track.

“The most difficult challenges faced included a water body found during construction of tunnel number 3 and the collapse of 3-km portion of tunnel number 1 near Udhampur as well as seepage in three other tunnels beyond Katra,” the authorities said.

Earlier, the inauguration of the railway track by the Prime Minster in June this year was postponed because after some technical snags along the track was detected.

Katra Railway station stands already completed with modern facilities including tourist guide counter, cloak room, waiting hall, VIP lounge, escalators and lifts, besides parking space on either side.

It is notable to mention here that Railways authorities in Katra have carried out a trial run of a newly constructed railway line using Departmental and Materials Train (DMT) earlier. Today train with fourteen bogies reached there. On December 7, railways authorities successfully ran a light power engine from Udhampur district to the town of Katra.

A survey on the project was conducted in 1998, but the groundwork started in 1999 setting 2005 as deadline to connect Katra, with rest of the country.

The construction work, however, came to a halt in 2006 when engineers came across a water body in the middle of the alignment of the 2.4 km long tunnel and the design of the tunnel had to be changed.

Around 80 percent of the route runs through tunnels and bridges and the terrain is so tough that the engineers along with ancillary workers faced lot of geological challenges due to which work was delayed.
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News Updated at : Monday, December 9, 2013
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