Lahore, May 30 : The schedule of the Samjhota Express, the train link between India and Pakistan, has been changed from yesterday. Now onwards, the train will be coming from Atari on Mondays and Thursdays, and leaving Lahore on Tuesdays and Fridays.
An official of the Pakistan Railways said that the schedule had to be changed because the train would now run between Atari and Lahore instead of vice versa.
According to the new schedule, the 401-Up train will reach Wagah at 11.30am and arrive at Lahore at 2.10pm.
The 402-Down train will leave Lahore at 8am, reach Wagah after 35 minutes and start its onward journey to Atari at 11.30am. The schedule is based upon Pakistan standard time. Earlier, the 402-Down used to leave Lahore at 8am and reach Wagah at 8.35am, restart its journey from Wagah at 11.30am and arrive at Atari at 11.40am, reported the Dawn.
The 401-Up used to leave Atari at 2pm, reach Wagah at 2.10pm, restart its onward journey for Lahore at 4.10pm. Its arrival time at Lahore railway station was 4.45pm. But the train rarely follows the schedule owing to security and customs clearance.
The Pakistan Rangers has been made responsible for the train security from Lahore to Wagah railway stations and vice versa from last year, after two crude incendiary bombs exploded inside the security-sealed train from Delhi to Atari on Feb 18, 2007, sparking a fire in which at least 68 passengers, including an unknown number of Pakistanis, were trapped to death. At least 13 passengers were also injured.
After the Panipat tragedy, the Pakistan Railways had also decided that the number of passengers would not be more than the seating capacity.
The Samjhota Express has a seating capacity of 576 and the railway authorities introduced reservation system from March 4 last year. The train had resumed its weekly operation after a break of two years on Jan 15, 2004.
The train started running between Lahore and Atari on Mondays and Thursdays from Nov 28, 2006. The frequency of the train operation was enhanced keeping in view the increase in number of passengers in the light of a five-year agreement signed between Pakistan and Indian railway authorities in the third week of December 2003.