Thursday, August 16, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Special Shatabdi from Aug 25
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 15
The Northern Railway will introduce a special Shatabdi Express train on the Chandigarh-New Delhi-Chandigarh sector from August 25.

The new train will run six days a week. There will be no special Shatabdi-type train on Sundays.

The Tribune was the first newspaper to report about the proposal of the Northern Railway to introduce the third Shatabdi Express on the New Delhi-Chandigarh-New Delhi sector on August 5.

According to sources, the introduction of a mid-day service from the Union Capital to Chandigarh and an evening service to New Delhi from here will be on an experimental basis , initially for two months, to clear the extra rush. The new train will have 11 coaches on the pattern of any other Shatabdi Express.

The sources reveal that the modalities for the introduction of the new service have been completed. The new Shatabdi Express will leave New Delhi at 11.30 a.m. and reach Ambala at 2 p.m. and Chandigarh at 2.40 p.m. It will depart for New Delhi at 5.20 p.m. to reach there at 8.30 p.m.

Slight modifications will be made in the schedule of some other trains to facilitate the movement of the new special Shatabdi-type train.

For example, the 2925 Paschim Express will give precedence to the 469 Up at Karnal and will reach Ambala cantonment at 2.30 p.m. instead of 2.15 p.m. and will leave Ambala cantonment at 3.05 p.m. to reach Amritsar at 7.40 p.m. instead of 7.25 p.m.

Likewise, the 2925A will arrive at Ambala at 2.30 p.m. and leave at 2.40 p.m., instead of the earlier arrival time of 2.15 p.m. and departure time of 2.25 p.m., to reach Chandigarh at 3.20 p.m. and Kalka at 4.20 p.m. instead of 4.05 p.m.

Similarly, the 4518 Uchahar Express will give precedence to the 470 Dn at Samalkha and will arrive at New Delhi at 9.10 p.m. instead of 8.55 p.m. and leave for Kanpur at 9.35 p.m. instead of 9.15 p.m.

Primary maintenance of the new special Shatabdi-type train will be done at New Delhi. Once the experiment is successful and the train gets a good response, it will be made a regular feature, the sources say.

There has been a big demand from travellers for the introduction of an evening Shatabdi to New Delhi from here. The demand, supported by both the Punjab and Haryana Governments and the Chandigarh Administration, has been found to be economically viable by the Northern Railway as the occupancy in the existing two services has been nearly 90 per cent.

Sources in the Northern Railway reveal that the problem of the availability of coaches and the engine has now been solved and the new train is being introduced without disturbing the existing Shatabdi Express network. A one-way journey on this sector takes 3 hours and 15 minutes. With one hour idling on either side and two hours required for cleaning the train at Chandigarh, it is necessary that the engine and coaches should be available for a minimum of 10 hours a day.

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