A long-pending public demand came to fruition at 12.50pm on Saturday as divisional railway manager (DRM) NC Goyal and a number of political leaders flagged off the Ludhiana-Moga leg of the extended New Delhi-Ludhiana Shatabdi Express from the railway station here.
Now every Monday and Saturday, the train would go up to Moga, which would entail an extended run of an hour and 15 minutes, while on the other five days it would chart its normal route of New Delhi-Ludhiana.
Though Ludhiana MP and union minister Manish Tewari could not make it, as he was busy with the Prime Minister's visit at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), four Congress MLAs -- Surinder Dawar, Rakesh Pandey, Bharat Bhushan Ashu (all from assembly segments in Ludhiana) and Joginderpal Sharma (Moga) - were present. The state's ruling SAD-BJP combine had no representation, though a number of railway officials, including station superintendent Ravinder Sharma, were in attendance.
The Delhi-Ludhiana Shatabdi was restarted upon Tewari's efforts some months ago, and credit for the Moga leg may well go to MLA Joginderpal Sharma, who had been pressing for it since 2008. However, on the first day, the Ludhiana-Moga stretch had just 15 passengers, all in the normal class, besides the dignitaries who boarded the train for its new destination.
DRM (Ferozepur) NC Goyal said the train has been extended to Moga on the demand of passengers who had to board from Ludhiana earlier.
Reacting to the demand of industrialists to start the train from Ludhiana in the morning, Goyal said if the demand were given in writing, the railways would consider it. He had the same reply about the demand for a stoppage at Dhandhari Kalan.
The DRM also had a promise about the delayed Lakkar Bridge project, saying that it would be made functional by March.
Route and cost
Monday and Saturday: Starts from New Delhi at 7am, to reach Ludhiana at 12.20pm; then leaves Ludhiana at 12.50, to reach Moga by 2.05pm. Return journey starts at 3pm from Moga, to reach Ludhina by 4.15, leaves at 4.40 and reaches Delhi at 10.10pm.
Tuesday to Friday: The journey would not include Moga; the rest remains same.
Stretch Normal seats Executive class
Moga to Ludhiana R 220 R 455
Ludhiana to Moga R 295 R 565
Moga to New Delhi R 585 R 1,225
New Delhi to Moga R 612 R 1,250