State government is mulling to run a tourist luxury train to cover important tourist spots in the State.
The proposal in this regard was mooted by J&K tourism department with Northern Railway in a high-level meeting in Srinagar.
The feasibility and modalities of this will be worked out by J&K tourism department in association with IRCTC.
The meeting observed that railway establishments would have to be built at strategic locations in the Valley for the efficient working and for the convenience of the personnel working on the USBRL project.
In this regard permission was sought from the State government for building an approach bridge on the river Lidder at Pahalgam and procurement of land at Gulmarg. The State government has agreed to expedite the process of granting permission for the same.
The meeting was attended by General Manager Northern Railway A K Puthia along with principal heads of Departments (NR), Chief Operating Manager Sanjiv Garg, Chief Commercial Manager G P Shrivastava, Principal Chief Engineer R K Agarwal, Chief Electrical Engineer G S Singh, Chief Security Commissioner Sanjay Kishore, Chief Motive Power Engineer (Diesel) A K Rana and Divisional Railway Manager Anuj Prakash participated in the meeting.
The government of J&K was represented by the Chief Secretary J&K BR Sharma, Principal Secretary BB Sharma, Managing Director JKTDC Farooq Shah and Chiefs of Water and Electricity Supply Department.
The meeting also discussed the movement of the DEMU coaches stranded at present at Udhampur, which have to be hauled by road as there is still no rail connectivity between Udhampur and Banihal.
These coaches are of state-of-the-art design and with heating arrangement catering to the climatic factors, providing aesthetic splendor of the Valley through wider windows for panoramic view and ergonomically designed cushioned chair etc. for pleasant and comfortable journey.
At present there are 26 train services operational in the valley. Out of which 22 are having a composition of eight coaches, with the augmentation of the rest of the trains within a week of delivery of the additional coaches all services will have a composition of eight coaches per train.
Improvement of public amenities at the various railway stations in the form of uninterrupted supply of drinking water and electricity was also discussed. Assurance was given by the officials of the state government for providing adequate safety and security to staff and railway establishments in Valley.
Further Northern Railway expressed confidence that active public co-operation would go hand-in-hand in ensuring the Railways’ endeavour to continue its agenda to provide greater connectivity and thereby progress in the region.
Pertinently, government of India planned a 326 km long railway line joining the Kashmir valley with the Indian railways network to provide an alternative and a reliable transportation system to J&K,
The Jammu-Udhampur-Katra-Quazigund-Baramulla Railway line is the biggest project being constructed in mountainous terrain since independence in India.
From Jammu to Baramulla, it passes through the arduous and lofty Himalayas. The Jammu-Udhampur section of 54 km length was constructed and commissioned by Northern Railway in April 2005. The remaining portion between Udhampur to Baramulla (272 Km) was declared as national project and given the name Udhampur–Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link (USBRL) project. Except the stretch between Banihal and Katra rest of the portion of the project is already complete and in operation.