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Kashmir Tourism to get a boost! Indian Railways train services resume in Valley from today after 11 months

Indian Railways has resumed train services in Kashmir Valley on the Banihal-Baramulla section.

Train operations resume in Kashmir Valley from today! Indian Railways, on Monday, resumed train services in Kashmir Valley on the Banihal-Baramulla section after remaining suspended for almost 11 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Railway Ministry, the resumption of train services in Kashmir Valley will enhance ease of movement and provide a big boost to the region’s tourism sector. All Indian Railways regular passenger train services were cancelled since 25 March 2020 when the novel coronavirus lockdown was announced. Now, the national transporter has been increasing the number of train services in a graded manner.

A spokesperson was quoted in a PTI report saying already over 65 per cent of trains are currently running. More than 250 trains were added in the month of January alone and more train services will be added on the Indian Railways network gradually, the spokesperson added. At present, only special train services which are fully reserved are running across the country along with some suburban train services.

In around two years, Indian Railways would link Kashmir to the rest of India. It is being said that the development work for the most challenging 111 km long section of Indian Railways’ Udhampur – Srinagar – Baramulla rail link (USBRL) project will be completed by December 2022 that would provide rail connectivity to Kashmir. The construction work on the 272 km long line is being undertaken by the Northern Railway zone at an estimated cost of Rs 28,000 crore.

Under this project, 118 km Qazigund-Baramulla section, 25 km Udhampur-Katra section, and 18 km Banihal-Qazigund section have been commissioned already. The 111 km Katra-Banihal section is the last remaining section. For execution purposes, the USBRL project has been divided into three sub-sections. The project’s most difficult stretch- Katra-Qazigund leg, along with its alignment which is of 129 km length, passes via Patni and Pir Panjal ranges.

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