BENGALURU: Here’s some welcome news for devotees of Mata Vaishno Devi. The first train from Yeshwantpur to Katra railway station, which is situated at a distance of 13 km from the temple, is all set to kick-start this week.
Following public demand, a decision to launch the weekly service was announced in the 2014-2015 Railway Budget. The plan, however, is coming to fruition just a little before the next Railway Budget.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu will be in the city on Thursday to flag off the service, but the first actual run will be on February 7, Sunanda Arul, additional divisional railway manager, Bengaluru Division, South Western Railway, told Express.
Lakhs of devotees from India and abroad visit this important Hindu pilgrimage centre, which is located at a height of 5,300-ft atop Tirkuta Hills. “We hope to have good patronage from the public for the service,” she said. This will be first train service from South India to the shrine in Jammu and it is expected to be fully booked.
The train will have 10 stoppages in its 56-hour journey and will pass Ballari, Secunderabad, Nagpur, Jhansi and New Delhi before reaching Katra. According to the present plan, the train will depart from Yeshwantpur at 11.30 am on Saturdays and reach Katra at 7.45 pm on Mondays. The return service will leave Katra at 6.30 am on Tuesdays and reach Yeshwantpur at 3 pm on Thursdays. The train will have 19 coaches and a pantry car.
Anup Dayanand, senior divisional commercial manager, Bengaluru Division, gave the fare break-up: sleeper class tickets will be priced at `945, 3A `2,430 and 2A `3,625.
It was only on July 4 last year that the classy Katra station in Jammu and Kashmir was formally declared open by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. With this train, Bengaluru will join New Delhi and Mumbai in operating a service to Katra.
Prior to the inauguration of the Katra station, the nearest rail point was the Jammu railway station located 50 km away. Pilgrims had to take a two-hour drive by road to reach Katra from here.
When asked the reasons for the delay in the launch of the train, Dayanand said the train was a brand new one, and the Katra station had to be completed.
Temporary Stoppage at Nagalavi
Belagavi: South Western Railway has decided to provide a one-minute stoppage temporarily at Nagalavi station in Hubli Division during the Hazrat Sharief Urs celebrations for three trains from Saturday to Monday. The Kolhapur-Haripriya train will arrive at Nagalavi station at 9.24 am, the Hubli-Miraj passenger at 1.30 pm and the Hyderabad-Kolhapur train at 2.26 pm. In the return direction, the Hyderabad-Kolhapur train will arrive at 2.28 pm, Miraj-Hubli train at 1.22 pm and Kolhapur-Haripriya train at 6.05 pm.