The much-awaited Chandigarh-Ludhiana rail link was finally inaugurated after a wait of over 15 years. The rail link was formally opened by union railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, who flagged off Superfast Express between Chandigarh and Amritsar.
Bansal also boarded the train from Chandigarh to SAS Nagar station. Congress MP Ravneet Singh Bittu and MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu along with several party members were present on the occasion.
The train departed at 5.30pm instead of scheduled start of 6.50pm and headed for its destination after passing through SAS Nagar, Kharar, Morinda, New Morinda, Khamano, Samrala, Lallkalan, Sahnewal and Dhandar before reaching Ludhiana.
The total length of the new line is 112 km. The railway line from Chandigarh to New Morinda was opened for traffic in September 2006 in phase 1, while the next phase, which involved construction of third line from Sahnewal to Ludhiana, was opened for traffic in November 2012. The final phase -- from New Morinda to Sahnewal -- was opened for traffic on Friday.
This 52-km section has 129 minor and road under bridges and four major bridges. It also has three new stations -- Khamano, Samrala and Lallkalan. With the completion of the new line, the travel time will be shortened by 45 minutes.
Train to Shirdi from May
Bansal announced that a train for devotees, Sai Nagar Shirdi Express, will start from May. The train to Shirdi from Kalka was announced in the last railway budget.
For improving connectivity between Jammu and Chandigarh, Bansal said railways is contemplating to route all trains between Ambala and Jammu via Chandigarh.
Anubhuti coaches, a special AC luxury class, which was proposed in the budget will be attached with Chandigarh Shatabdi within four months. The railway minister said the pending demand of new train to Anandpur Sahib will be approved soon. When questioned about other pending projects, he said owing to lack of funds the ministry has been unable be complete these in time.
1999: Project approved by the ministry of railways
2001: Work commenced
2006: Railway line from Chandigarh to New Morinda opened for traffic
2012: The phase-2, which involved construction of third line from Sanehwal to Ludhiana, opened
2013: Final phase of the line from New Morinda to Sanehwal (52km) opened for traffic