Indian Railways to launch Vande Bharat Metro train service between Jammu and Srinagar, cutting travel time to 3.5 hours with specific frequencies.
The Indian Railways has its sights set on expanding the reach of its Vande Bharat Express, with plans to launch the semi-high speed train on the Jammu-Srinagar route once the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link Project is completed by the end of 2023 or early 2024. Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has confirmed that the train, which currently runs on the Delhi-Mata Vaishno Devi, Katra route, will bring its speedy service to Jammu and Srinagar, promising to connect even more travelers with the convenience and efficiency of the Vande Bharat experience.
Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link Project
The Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link Project is an essential initiative by the Indian Railways, aimed at connecting the Kashmir Valley with the rest of India. Currently, the Vande Bharat Express runs only till Udhampur, which marks the final point of railway connectivity between Jammu and Kashmir and the rest of the country. However, once the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail link becomes operational, the train will be able to run all the way from Jammu to Srinagar, bringing seamless rail connectivity to the region. It is worth noting that the Kashmir Valley already has a functional 118 km Banihal-Baramula railway line, which has been instrumental in improving transportation and connectivity in the area.
The Indian Railways is making significant strides in connecting the Udhampur section with the Baramula section through the Udhampur-Banihal link, a 114 km long railway line that will feature the world’s highest railway bridge, the Chenab Bridge. The construction of this bridge is a significant engineering feat, as it is being built across the Chenab river at a height of 359 meters from the riverbed. Recently, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw joined railway officials on the first run of a track-mounted trolley to inspect the iconic bridge, which promises to be a game-changer in terms of connectivity and transportation in the region. The successful completion of this project will pave the way for more efficient and comfortable travel between Jammu and Kashmir and the rest of India.
The Railway Minister provided an update on the progress of the Udhampur-Banihal link, stating that the track work on the Chenab bridge has been completed, and the next phase will involve electric work and the installation of Kavach – an anti-collision safety device. In addition, he announced plans to establish a maintenance facility for the Vande Bharat Express train at Badgam in the Kashmir Valley. Furthermore, the minister revealed that the Vande Bharat Metro, a high-speed train, will run between Jammu and Srinagar cities in the initial phase. These initiatives are aimed at improving transportation connectivity and providing a comfortable and efficient travel experience for the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
According to Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, the goal is to complete the Jammu-Srinagar connectivity through the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link Project by December 2023 or January 2024. To prepare for the launch of the Vande Bharat Express on this route, a maintenance facility for the train is being created at Badgam in the Kashmir Valley. Once the railway line becomes operational, the Vande Bharat Express will start running to Srinagar, providing faster and more comfortable travel options for passengers. The minister also confirmed that the Vande Bharat Express will be operating on the new USBRL almost immediately after its launch, making it a convenient choice for travelers right from the start. These efforts are a testament to the Indian Railways’ commitment to enhancing transportation connectivity in Jammu and Kashmir.
Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw highlighted the benefits of connecting the Kashmir Valley with the Indian railway network, stating that it will result in a faster and more comfortable journey for passengers travelling between Jammu and Srinagar. The new railway link is expected to reduce the travel time between the two cities to 3.5 hours, which is a significant improvement from the current travel time. In addition, the Vande Metro service will operate between Srinagar and Jammu cities, with trains running at a specific frequency, providing a reliable and efficient transportation option for passengers. The government’s focus on improving transportation connectivity in the region is a positive development, as it will help boost tourism and economic activity in Jammu and Kashmir.