After 3 Weeks, Baramulla-Banihal Train May Be Back On Track Today

27 September 2014
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Majid Jahangir

Srinagar: The Kashmir train service, which was suspended on September 5 after flash floods hit the Valley, is likely to resume operation from Baramulla in north Kashmir to Banihal in the Jammu region tomorrow. The railway track and bridge embankments at several places in south Kashmir were washed away by flash floods in south Kashmir, causing a huge loss to the Railways. Engineers of the Railway were working to restore the badly damaged track between the Awantipore-Kakpora and Anantnag-Bijbehara stations in south Kashmir. The Railways had started partial and limited operation from Srinagar to Baramulla last week. 'After restoring the railway track, a trial run of the train was conducted today to Banihal. Hopefully by tomorrow we should be able to restore services to Banihal,' said a senior official. 'The trial run was conducted to see the strength of the railway track from the Nowgam station in Srinagar to Banihal after the floods,' he added. The railway operations were suspended completely on September 5 after large areas of south Kashmir were inundated. Civil administration sources said a final decision about the frequency of trains to Banihal from Baramulla would be taken in a high-level meeting on late Saturday or Sunday morning. 'We may not be able to run all the trains between Baramulla and Banihal as per our earlier schedule. It might take a few days before the train service is completely restored and all this will be decided in a meeting tonight or tomorrow,' a senior official of the J&K Government said. Before the floods hit the Valley, the trains in Kashmir were making 22 trips between Baramulla and Banihal. Most of these trips (12) were made from Budgam to Banihal. Six trips were being made by trains between Baramulla and Banihal. The train services was launched in Kashmir in 2008 and it is yet to be connected to the immense railway network of India. Being the cheap, comfortable and quick mode of transportation, more and more people have been turning to train travel rather than road transport.