Amit Shah flags off New Delhi-Katra Vande Bharat Express, says 'big gift' for Jammu and Kashmir's development on tourism
Train number 22439 New Delhi-Katra Vande Bharat Express will depart from the New Delhi railway station at 6 am to reach Katra at 2 pm.
The first commercial run of the Delhi-Katra Vande Bharat Express will be on 5 October
Booking of tickets is now open on the IRCTC website, the railways said on Sunday
The train will bring down the travel time between Delhi and Katra, the last station on the way to Vaishno Devi temple, to eight hours
Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday flagged off the inaugural run of Vande Bharat Express (Train 18) between New Delhi and Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra from the national capital. The union minister also lauded the project, saying it was a "big gift" for Jammu and Kashmir's development.
Shah was accompanied by Union Ministers Piyush Goyal, Harsh Vardhan, Jitendra Singh and officials from the Indian Railways at the New Delhi junction for the flagging off event.
Delhi: Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal along with Union Ministers Dr Jitendra Singh and Dr Harsh Vardhan flag-off the Vande Bharat Express from New Delhi to Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra. pic.twitter.com/IfODd6Jljr
— ANI (@ANI) October 3, 2019
Congratulating the Indian Railways for the completion of the project, Shah said, "I want to thank the Indian Railways from the core of my heart for giving this gift to Jammu and Kashmir in the auspicious occasion of Navratri. I am proud that this made in India train is being flagged-off from Delhi today. The railways is working towards achieving its targets keeping in mind the principles of speed, scale and service." He added that the project will serve as a medium for the development of the state by boosting religious tourism.
"For the development of Jammu and Kashmir religious tourism will play a big part, there cannot be any village in India where people do not want to go to Mata Vaishno Devi temple," he said. Shah also said that Article 370 was the "biggest roadblock" in the state's development and within 10 years, it will be one of the most developed regions of the country.
Union Home Min Amit Shah at the flag-off ceremony of Vande Bharat Express from Delhi to Katra: I'm proud that this 'Made in India' train is being flagged-off from here today. The railways is working towards achieving its targets keeping in mind principles of speed,scale&service pic.twitter.com/eN5AFcabka
— ANI (@ANI) October 3, 2019
Train number 22439 New Delhi-Katra Vande Bharat Express will depart from the New Delhi Railway Station at 6 am to reach Katra at 2 pm. En route, the train will halt at Ambala Cantt, Ludhiana and Jammu Tawi for two minutes each.
On the return journey the same day, train number 22440 Katra-New Delhi Vande Bharat Express will leave from the Katra Railway Station at 3 pm to reach the New Delhi Railway Station at 11 pm.
Train 18 will ply on all days of the week except for Tuesdays.
"Railways will connect country from Kashmir to Kanyakumari before 15 August, 2022," said Railway Minister Piyush Goyal.
Shah also said that, "Railways should document its relationship with Mahatma Gandhi as it forms a significant episode in the freedom struggle.".
This is the second Vande Bharat Express, the first runs between Delhi and Varanasi. Earlier on Tuesday, the Railways said that the train will start its commercial run between New Delhi and Katra on 5 October.
It will comprise of two Executive AC Chair Car and 12 Chair Car coaches, with stops at Ambala Cantt, Ludhiana, and Jammu Tawi railway stations. The journey between New Delhi to Sri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra will cost Rs 1,630 in Chair Car coaches and Rs 3,015 in Executive AC Chair Car coaches.
With inputs from agencies
Shah is in the state for a two-day tour to inaugurate and launch several projects on the first anniversary of the Sarma-led state government
On his first day, the home minister is slated to attend the golden jubilee celebrations of Ramakrishna Mission at Narottam Nagar in Arunachal Pradesh's Tirap district on Saturday