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PM, Sonia Gandhi inaugurate first rail link to Kashmir valley

PM, Sonia Gandhi inaugurate first rail link to Kashmir valley

Srinagar: Kashmir's dream of an all-weather surface link turned into reality today after Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi inaugurated a rail link between Banihal and Qazigund in the Valley.

The 8-coach train will make regular operation from Banihal to Baramulla from June 27. The Banihal-Baramulla-Banihal train will make five trips daily beginning at 7.10am from Banihal and 7.35am from Baramulla.

The Banihal-Qazigund section, which includes an 11-km-long tunnel, will reduce the distance from 35 km (by road) to 18 km. It has been constructed at a cost of Rs. 1,691 crore.

This rail section is very significant as it will provide an all-weather link to Kashmir valley which often gets cut off from the rest of the country due to snowfall during winters.

Passengers travelling by train from Kashmir valley to Banihal can avail bus service from there till Udhampur where train service is available for the rest of the country.

Northern Railway is coordinating with Jammu and Kashmir government for arrangements for the bus service.

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