New Delhi, Oct 29: Sounds incredible, but trains are going to run on National Highway 1-A from Jammu to Badgam via Srinagar! The only difference is that these trains -- basically two coaches/DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) -- will be equipped not with normal iron wheels but with 'special' truck tyres.
Such a spectacle, a rare feat of engineering marvel, will become a reality when 24 coaches -- two at a time-- plus two diesel engines will be transported from Jammu to the Kashmir Valley for running regular train services there from February next year.
This has been made possible by replacing iron wheels of the coaches/DMU with truck tyres, which will be pulled by a trailer-truck , Railway Ministry sources said.
Once the coaches reach Badgam railway yard, their truck tyres will again be replaced by iron wheels for their normal run on rail tracks. Roads have been widened by cutting the corners wherever it was needed for the movement of this special vehicle.
''In a way, Railways have to make this experimentation out of sheer necessity so that trains start running in the Kashmir valley in February next year,'' the sources said.
A leading transport company of the country has been given the job of transporting these coaches. The company will get Rs 15 lakh each for carrying the coaches.
For a trial run, the Railways has given an old coach to the company, which will have to transport it safely to Badgam. ''If the company does it successfully in the trial run, it will then be given the contract for carrying the 24 coaches,'' the sources said.
Railway engineers had suggested three ways for transporting coaches to Badgam. Firstly, coaches should be taken there in a dismantled state, where these could be assembled. However, it could not be done possible because of technical reasons.
Secondly, it was decided to airlift the coaches. However, the idea was promptly shelved because there is no plane in the country, which can carry train coaches and engines.
Finally, it was decided to transport the coaches through road.