A new Shatabdi Express service to Bathinda was flagged off here on Thursday by Rail Minister Suresh Prabhu as part of efforts by the public transporter to enhance inter-city connectivity.
"There was a long-standing demand for this train and it was fulfilled today. But credit for this should go to food processing minister Harsimrat Kaur as she pursued it consistently," Prabhu said at the launch which was attended by central ministers, senior officials and MPs from Delhi and Punjab.
The bi-weekly New Delhi-Bathinda-New Delhi Shatabdi Express will commence its regular journey from December 20.
Thanking the railway minister for the launch of the train, Kaur said that traders and people in general had been calling for the introduction of such a service.
"Bhatinda is big railway junction and the city also has a presence of defence forces," she said. However, she added that the frequency of the train should be increased to more than two days.
With one executive chair car and seven air-conditioned chair-car coaches, the Bathinda Shatabdi Express will run every Monday and Saturday in both directions.
Meanwhile, stressing on the need for improvement in the railways' performance, Prabhu said, "If there will be improvement in rail sector, our GDP will also increase. It will benefit employees and common people."
He said efforts are on to provide better services at railway stations in terms of catering, cleanliness and development of platforms.
Noting that there are about 8,000 stations in the country, Prabhu said that railways is coming out with a concrete proposal for providing better facilities on platforms."
He also promised to run special trains connecting all gurdwaras in the country.
There are presently 14 pairs of Shatabdi services under Northern Railway connecting 11 cities -- Bhopal, Lucknow, Ajmer, Dehradun, Amritsar (2 pairs), Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Moga, Kathgodam, Kanpur and Kalka (2 pairs). The Bathinda-New Delhi Shatabdi is the 15th such service in this zone.