Manmohan Singh flags off first train in Kashmir Valley

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Srinagar, Oct 11 : Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh today flagged off the first train service in Kashmir valley.

Dr Singh, accompanied by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav and Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra, flagged off the flower-decked train from Srinagar railway station at Nowgam.

According to sources, the train, which was flagged off 10 years after the project was started by the then Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral, carried school children.

Initially, the train will run from Rajwansher in Budgam district to Anantnag, covering a distance of 66 kms. The fare for the travel will be 15 rupees.

The regular service of the train will commence from Sunday. There will be an eight-coach DEMU rake in the train.

The train, which is expected to cover the 66-km in about 1 hour and 35 minutes including stoppage time at various stations, will be run twice a day from either side. The stoppages will be at Budgam, Srinagar, Pampore, Kakapora, Awantipora, Panjgam, Bijbehara, Rajwansher and Anantnag.

The coaches will have a seating capacity for 90 passengers and the compartment meant for physically challenged persons will have wider doors.

In view of the climate of the valley, 1400 horse power diesel engine for the train has been provided with heating system for quick and trouble free starting in winters.

The driver's cab has heating and defogging unit keeping in view the cold climate. Snow cutting type cattle guard is attached at the driver's end of the train for snow clearance from tracks during winter.

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