KD NEWS SERVICE
BANIHAL/JAMMU, Jan 3: The Commissioner of Railways Safety (CRS) on Wednesday conducted the second round of the statutory inspection of the recently completed 14.869 km track between Banihal and Khari section along the ambitious Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link (USBRL), officials said. The Khari railway station in Jammu and Kashmir’s Ramban district falls between Banihal and Katra on the remaining 111-km stretch of the USBRL project, which on completion will connect Kashmir with the rest of the country by train in the coming months.
On December 6 last year, the Northern Railways successfully conducted the first trial run of an electric train from the Banihal railway station to the Khari railway station, bringing cheer on the faces of the local population residing in the remote picturesque area.
The officials said the second round of statutory inspection by CRS Dinesh Chand Deshwal for the opening of Banihal-Khari track was conducted, brightening the chances for commission of this section to link Khari with Kashmir valley by train.
During the inspection, the officials said the chief administrative officer of the USBRL, the construction officers and other concerned officials accompanied the CRS, who first led trolley inspection of the work from Banihal to Khari and later returned from Khari to Banihal by special train.
The train schedule will be released after the submission of the report by the CRS, the officials said, adding the track between Banihal and Khari passes mostly through tunnels and has four minor and major bridges as well.
Deshwal said the infrastructure is ready for commissioning and the inspection was imperative before extending the train service to Khari.
“This (inspection) is a process and we are completing it before starting the train operations after checking the passenger safety. The government guidelines for testing and commissioning are being completed,” he said.
Out of the total 272 km USBRL project, the 161 km was commissioned in phases with the first phase 118-km Qazigund-Baramulla section commissioned in October 2009 followed by 18-km Banihal-Qazigund in June 2013 and 25-km Udhampur-Katra in July 2014. The work on the project, which is the most challenging railway infrastructure project being undertaken post-independence, was started in 1997 and has missed several deadlines amid huge cost escalations. (Agencies)