Good news for those travelling to the Vaishno Devi shrine, as beginning next April their travel is going to be easier. With the Udhampur-Katra rail link nearing completion, the pilgrims would be able to reach the Katra base camp not only with convenience, but have a thrilling experience on the way.
The 25-km Udhampur-Katra route consists of seven tunnels and 30 small and big bridges, including a 185-feet-high tunnel. A total of seven tunnels span over 10 km of the 25-km stretch.
On Wednesday, divisional railway manager (northern railway-Ferozepur division) Naresh Chander Goyal said the Udhampur-Katra rail section will get operational by the end of March, providing the much-needed ease to the pilgrims visiting Vaishno Devi shrine.
Goyal said: "The Katra station is almost ready, with all the basic infrastructure facilities in place. Even the staff has been deputed. The work on the Udhampur-Katra line is nearing completion and is expected to be commissioned soon." With the start of this 25.2 km Udhampur-Katra rail track, the pilgrims will be able to reach Katra without having to break their journey at Jammu. The project, which is a part of Jammu-Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Railway Link started in 1983, is coming up at the cost of Rs 928 crore, he said.
The 53-km Jammu-Udhampur rail line is already operational, but it was of no use to the pilgrims, as they had to travel more than 30 kilometres by road to reach Katra from Udhampur.