With the Union rail budget just a week away, hopes are rife that the government may announce the date to run passenger trains on the 37-km Bhind-Etawah railway stretch. Trains on the route have been delayed despite Commissioner of Railway Safety’s (CRS) clearance. The railway budget will be presented on the floor of parliament on February 25.
The direct rail link is expected to reduce commuting travel time and distance between Madhya Pradesh’s heritage city Gwalior and Uttar Pradesh’s political powerhouse Etawah by almost half.
At present, people wanting to travel from Gwalior to Etawah by train have to take the 300-km Jhansi-Kanpur or Agra-Tundla routes that take around six hours. The direct Bhind-Etawah rail link will cut the distance between Gwalior and Etawah by 150 km and bring down travel time to three hours.
Goods trains operational on the route but passenger trains still on hold
According to the North Central Railway (NCR-Jhansi Division), though goods trains are operational on the Bhind-Etawah section since last four months, passenger trains were put on hold after the CRS in December found some faults in the track passing through a bridge over the Chambal river that falls on the route. The CRS gave clearance for running passenger trains on the route after the faults in the bridge were rectified in January.
“We are waiting for the final date from New Delhi…We are hopeful that the passenger train will be operational on the section by end of this month,” NCR Jhansi divisional commercial manager-cum-public relations officer Girish Kanchan told HT on Tuesday.
The Bhind-Etawah passenger train service is likely to pave the passage for extending the Indore-Bhind Express till Etawah, a direct and shorter train link between MP’s commercial capital Indore and Etawah. Further, with Oori Mond station on the Etawah-Bhind railway line also connecting with Bhandai railway station of Agra district, there will be a possibility of shifting goods train traffic on the new section to decongest the Agra-Tundla-Etawah route.