Agencies, New Delhi
Railways will introduce from Monday a daily train service from here to Katra, the base camp for pilgrims visiting the Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine.
The AC superfast ‘Shri Shakti Express’ will depart from New Delhi station at 5:30 PM daily and arrive at Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra station at 5:10 AM the next day.
Similarly, in the return direction, it will depart from there at 10:55 PM daily and reach here at 10:45 AM the next day, a Northern Railway statement said.
Comprising one first AC, five AC two-tier and nine AC three-tier coaches, the train will have stoppages at Ambala Cantt, Ludhiana, Jalandhar Cantt, Pathankot Cantt, Jammu Tawi and Udhampur stations enroute in both directions.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on July 4 flagged off the first train from Katra while commissioning the 25-km-long Udhampur-Katra line, built at an estimated cost of Rs 1,132.75 crore.
At the function, the Prime Minister had named the train Shri Shakti Express and said such services are planned from major cities in the country. The shrine attacts about 10 million pilgrims annually.
Katra station is equipped with modern facilities, including tourist guide counter, cloak room, waiting hall, VIP lounge, escalators and lifts and parking spaces.
The train connectivity to Katra is part of the ambitious Kashmir rail link project marking region’s rail connectivity with the rest of the country.