As the train service in Kashmir is resuming on Monday after almost 11 months of suspension owing to Covid-19, the Railways conducted a 137-km “dry run” between Baramulla-Banihal on Sunday.
Chief Area Manager, Northern Railways, Saqib Yousuf said empty trains operated between Budgam to Banihal and Budgam to Baramulla to conduct a trial run. “We are ready to resume the partial train service from tomorrow,” Yousuf said.
After remaining suspended for around 11 months since March last year, the railways is restoring train service partially between Banihal and Baramulla with two runs daily.
As per officials, the train will have a departure time of 11:25 am from Banihal, while it will leave Baramulla station at 9:10 am.
The train in Kashmir had also remained suspended in 2019 for several months after the government of India scrapped special constitutional status of J&K.
Frequent suspension of train service has caused railways losses in crores of rupees. As per railway officials, during normal days, 15 pairs of trains used to run over the railway line from Banihal to Baramulla and carried almost 30,000 commuters including students and government employees.
In its endeavour for electrification of the Banihal-Baramulla rail link in next two years, the Northern Railways has started erecting electric poles along the track from Budgam to Baramulla.
It may be mentioned that the union railway ministry recently conducted a satellite survey for construction of a railroad from Baramulla to Kupwara in northern Kashmir. The project was approved by the central government in 2018.
A senior railway official said that the ministry has submitted the report of the aerial survey for 39-km long railroad to the railway board in July last year.
Trains running between Banihal and Baramulla cross through several areas and has 17 different stations of which the major ones are Banihal, Qazigund, Anantnag, Srinagar, Budgam, Mazhom, Pattan, Hamre, Sopore and Baramulla.