Trains set to run in Kashmir
24 February 2007
New Delhi: Indian Railways is set to achieve a milestone .The first train in the Kashmir Valley is ready to roll. Railway Minister Lalu Prasad is expected to state this in the Railway Budget. Railway engineers, mechanics and officials are in the last lap of the project. Up to 12 coaches have reached the Valley. The 42-km long section from Kakapur to Rajwansher on the Qazigund-Baramulla stretch will be the first phase. 'We are keen to hit the valley before the tourist season... The trial run of the coaches and diesel multiple unit engine are on and we hope to get final clearance by next month to open the track for traffic by April... ,' an official said. There are many firsts here. The trains have to run in winter on tracks covered with snow. The coaches need heating. 'We have for the first time installed an auxiliary unit in the diesel engine that would not only circulate warm air in the coaches but also keep the diesel engine warm in winter. Snow cutters have been installed in front of the engine that would keep throwing snow sideways... ,' an official said. Transporting the coaches to the valley was an arduous task. After exploring various options, the 23-m long coaches were loaded on to trailers. It took 10 days to cover a distance of 300 km.