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Thar Exp all set for historic journey

Train service between Rajasthan and Pakistan's Sindh will resume today.

india Updated: Feb 17, 2006 11:33 IST

After over 30 years, a train service between Munabao in Rajasthan and Khokhrapar in Sindh province of Pakistan is set to resume on Friday.

The train would be carrying around 150 passengers from India on a historic journey across the border.

An equal number of Pakistani passengers, including some 100 journalists, are expected to travel on the Thar Express when it returns to Munabao the same evening.

Pakistan Railways will operate the train for the first six months.

According to SC Bhattacharya, general manager of the North Western Railway that will provide logistical services for the train, Pakistani-bound passengers would have to buy two tickets - one from Jodhpur to Munabao and the other from there to Khokhrapar, some 50 km away, and eventually Mirpur Khas, another 150 km away.

The Indian passengers will board an overnight train at Jodhpur at 11.30 pm on Friday that will take them non-stop to Munabao by 7.30 am the next morning.

They will then board the Thar Express at 1 pm after completing immigration and customs formalities for the 50 km half-hour ride to Khokhrapar.

From there, they will board another train for the journey to Mirpur Khas, from where they will disperse for their intended destinations.

The fare will be Rs 190 for the Jodhpur-Munabao sector and Rs 110 for the Khokhrapar-Mirpur Khas journey.

Similarly, Pakistani passengers disembarking at Munabao would have to purchase another ticket from there to Jodhpur.

Bhattacharya said the two countries had chosen Mirpur Khas on the Pakistan side and Jodhpur on the Indian side for issuing tickets as they had adequate infrastructure.

"Both the stations have been selected as they are big and could serve as a point from where passengers coming from different areas of both the countries could conveniently buy tickets after showing their passports and visas," he added.

Each passenger will be allowed to carry gifts valued at less than Rs 6,000 duty free. Children below 10 years will be allowed to carry gifts worth Rs 1,500.

Train services on the Munabao-Khokhrapar route were suspended after the 1965 India-Pakistan border conflict.

First Published: Feb 17, 2006 11:16 IST