Kashmir Valley will connect with the rest of the country through the rail network at the beginning of the year 2024 as work on the Banihal-Udhampur track is in the final stage. This was announced by Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw while interacting with media persons at the Srinagar railway station.

"Udhampur-Banihal track, connecting Jammu with Srinagar, will be completed by December this year, or early next year. With this, the Udhampur-Baramulla railway line in J and K will be completed," he said.

"There is good progress on the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail line. The work on the Chenab and Anji bridges and major tunnels is also going and there is good progress. By the grace of God, the train will chug on this route in December this year or January-February next year," Vaishnaw said.

Railway minister
Railway Ministry

Special Vande Bharat train to be introduced in J&K 

The Railway minister said after completion of the rail link, a special "Vande Bharat" will be introduced in J&K. He further said that J&K also will have a specially designed Vande Bharat train, keeping in view weather conditions and other related things. The special "Vande Bharat" train will be opened in the mid of 2024.

"Everything like temperature, and snow, has been kept in mind while manufacturing this special train. Once the railway line is opened, you will have the 'Vande Bharat' train in the middle of 2024," he said.

Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw
Railway Minister Ashwini VaishnawIANS

Budget allocation increased from Rs 800 crore to Rs 6,000 crore annually for this dream project

The Minister said that budget allocation for the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Railway Line (USBRL) was about Rs 800 crore per year before 2014, which has been increased to Rs 6,000 crore in the year 2022-23.

"The cost of the project is Rs 35,000 crore. They used to get only Rs 700-800 crores per year. So, after Modi came to power, he doubled it. Then tripled it and now has increased the funding six times of what it was," the Railway minister said.

Minister travels from Budgam to Baramulla in a train

The Railway minister undertook a journey from Budgam Railway Station to Baramula Railway Station by special inspection car. He made a detailed overview of the safety and security of the railway section and took stock of the passenger amenities at Baramulla Railway Station.

The Minister discussed with the concerned railway officers the development works to be done at Baramula Railway Station. He also interacted with Railway employees and inspected the dry fruit stall of "One Station One Product". He appreciated the local dry fruits of Baramula and purchased them using the digital mode of payment.