DHARMANAGAR/ TRIPURA: Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) authorities have started converting meter gauge railway tracks into broad gauge ones from September 20 under what they call a “Mega Block” scheme.
Hundreds of people gathered at the Dharmanagar station, the first railway station near the Tripura-Assam border, to enjoy the last metre gauge train ride from North Tripura to state capital Agartala over the weekend.
People played drums and danced before the decorated engine as an act of emotional farewell to the meter gauge train and expressed hope that for a better tomorrow.
“We are expecting a new dawn with the broad gauge train service in the state. To get something better, we have to tolerate a little pain. But, we are also very sad today over paying farewell to the meter gauge train which will go into history,” said Shan Das, a passenger.
NFR sources said that it is expected that all train services in Tripura will come to a halt for about six months to facilitate the railway track conversion.
After the completion of the Silchar-Lumding Track conversion, railway services between Badarpur in Assam and Agartala would be withdrawn from Sunday.
The mega block would be enforced in the Badarpur Kumarghat-Agartala section and the entire work is likely to be completed by March 2016 to connect Agartala with the broad gauge railway map of the country.
“On behalf of Dharmanagar Railway staff, I congratulate all, as we are finishing a great chapter of our journey which is coming to an end,” said S.Das, a railway official.
Agartala found a place on the railway map in 2008. Earlier in the first phase, 220-km-long gauge conversion was completed on the Lumding-Silchar route. In the second phase, the 217-km-long Badarpur-Agartala section would be converted.
An amount of Rs.5,338 crores has been allocated in the current fiscal for development of railway infrastructure in Northeast India, with initiatives to develop railway infrastructure and connectivity to all state capitals of the region.
A 15.6 km railway link between Agartala and Akhaura in Bangladesh is also in the pipeline.