Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off the first train from Katra in Jammu, the base camp for Vaishno Devi shrine, on July 4.
While flagging off the Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU), Modi said, “In the coming decade, Katra will become the fulcrum of economic development in Jammu & Kashmir.”
The train, which had school children aboard, started its journey at around 9.55 am from Katra Railway station to Udhampur.
Suggesting name ‘Shreeshakti Express’ for the train, Narendra Modi said it is a gift not just for the people of J&K, but for the whole India. “Development of J&K is the desire of all Indians and the government will do everything to achieve it,” Modi said.
Prime Minister also assured that the development of Jammu will not be neglected. “We will take forward the journey of development started by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.”
Earlier, J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah welcomed the new rail link and said that it will help the pilgrims going to Vaishno Devi.
Katra-Udhampur rail line is around 25-kilometres-long and consists of the 9.4-km-long Udhampur-Chak Rakhwal and 15.5-km-long Chak Rakhwal-Mata Vaishno Devi-Katra sections.
The approximate cost of this section is Rs 1,132 crore. The bridge on the Jhajjar River is the longest steel girder bridge in India with a height of 85 metres. There are eight tunnels and 29 minor bridges on Udhampur-Katra track.