Union railway minister Suresh Prabhu flagged off the inaugural run of the new express train to link the historic town of Anandpur Sahib with Amristar at a function held here on Monday.
The railway minister conducted the flagging-off ceremony from the stage along with Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib jathedar Giani Mal Singh, Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, Anandpur Sahib MP Prem Singh Chandumajra, Punjab ministers Madan Mohan Mittal, Daljit Singh Cheema and Sikander Singh Maluka, instead of flagging off the train in front of its engine.
The media persons,who had reached near the engine of the train to cover the flagging off ceremony there, were left high and dry as the minister flagged off the train from the stage.
While addressing the function, Prabhu said linking of two important religious Takhts of Sikhs – Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib and the Akal Takht -- would go a long way in meeting the aspirations of the devotees visiting these two cities, adding that the train would regularly start running from April 13 six days a week.
He also directed the railways officials to start Gurbani recitation in the train so that devotees could complete their journey in a good atmosphere.
Prabhu said he would seek the cooperation of the religious leaders for ensuring cleanliness in the railways through ‘Kar Seva’ as part of ‘Swachh Bharat, Swachh Rail’ campaign.
Later, talking to mediapersons, the railway minister said special emphasis was being laid on the rail safety and manning the unmanned railway crossing to prevent accidents adding that in this year new 3,500 unmanned railway crossings would be covered besides constructing 900 railway overbridges across the nation.
Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib jathedar Giani Mal Singh, Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, Anandpur Sahib MP Prem Singh Chandumajra, Punjab industries minister Madan Mohan Mittal also spoke on the occasion.
The new Nangal-Anandpur Sahib-Amritsar has air-conditioned chair car, three-tier AC and general class accommodation with luggage van coaches.
According to railway officials, the schedule, stoppages and composition of regular services of the train would be notified later.
Meanwhile, the Shiromani Akal Dal and BJP workers welcomed the train at Rupnagar and Morinda railway stations.