Train to Vaishno Devi will Be Inaugurated by PM Modi before Rail Budget
Indian Railways got the obligatory safety clearance from the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) to commence its long desired train operations to Katra – the base camp of Vaishno Devi shrine, ahead of the Rail Budget 2014-15.
The 25-km long Udhampur-Katra rail section in J&K is scheduled to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the end of the month along with Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda. The CRS inspected the Udhampur- Katra line completely, which was constructed at the cost of Rs 1,050 crore.
Before getting clearance, certain issues were raised by the CRS that were cleared this month. Even though the date of commencement of the Katra route has not been finalized yet, but it is considered that the inauguration will be done before the Rail Budget. The rail budget of NDA government is estimated to be presented on 9th July. Before that, railway increases passenger fares by 14.2 per cent. The trial run of the Udhampur- Katra train service has been after the CRS clearance.
By starting this line, the railway would make it easy for the pilgrims of Vaishno Devi travel directly to the base camp at Katra. The railway is planning to extend the services of Jammu Mail and Sampark Kranti trains up to Katra along with introducing new trains like Katra-Kalka Express, Delhi Sarai Rohilla-Udhampur Express, and Ahmedabad-Udhampur Express. As per the official, train services to Katra are in high demand from several railway zones of India. Some local train from Jammu to Katra and Pathankot to Katra may also be introduced to serve the Mata Vaishno Devi pilgrims of these locations.
Vaishno Devi shrine is visited by 10 million devotees every year and the line to Katra will ease the trip to their favorite pilgrimage center. Katra station is provided with all modern facilities like a tourist guide, cloak room, waiting room, VIP lounge, escalators, lifts and spacious parking area.