From Monday, Northern Railways will finally begin daily service of the fully air-conditioned “Shri Shakti Express” connecting New Delhi and Katra station. However, there is no word on the Kalka-Katra train, waiting for over a year.
The superfast Shri Shakti Express (22461/22462) will stop at Ambala Cantt, Ludhiana, Jalandhar Cantt, Pathankot Cantt , Jammu Tawi and Udhampur stations enroute in both directions, before reaching Katra, base of Vaishno devi shrine. Local residents strongly demanded that the Kalka-Katra should be started immidiately.
A city resident namely Subhash said if the Delhi-Katra train could be started on time, what is the problem with Kalka-Katra train. Another resident, Surinder Singh, asked for immediate intervention of local member of Parliament (MP) Kirron Kher in starting the KalkaKatra train. Former railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said, “Since Udhampur-Katra rail section is now open, there is no reason for any further delay in starting this much-awaited Kalka-Katra train.”
The new train will depart from New Delhi at 5.30pm daily to arrive at Katra at 5.10am the next day. On return journey, it will depart from Katra at 10.55pm daily to reach New Delhi at 10.45am the next day.
The train is fully air-conditioned, consisting of one AC first class, five AC two tier and nine AC three tier coaches. Besides, three trains, currently running between Pathankot-Jammu Tawi-Udhampur were extended to run to and from Katra station.