Tribune News Service
Shimla, March 1
The alignment of 116-year-old UNESCO world heritage Shimla-Kalka narrow gauge railway line will be altered to reduce the travelling time by increasing the speed and strengthening the track, said Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal while talking to mediapersons here today.
The long travelling time (about five and half hours) was a major bottleneck and efforts were made to increase the speed of the train from 25 km/h but nothing much could be done due to a steep gradient and sharp curves. Now, the Railway Department would conduct a survey to realign the track, where ever necessary, he said.
Goyal added that orders had been issued to replace old coaches running on this track with new designs and Vistadome like coaches with a panoramic view, plush finish, more sitting capacity giving better experience to tourists. Further, two hop in, hop off coaches would be added on the track.
Manali-Leh rly line project not feasible
- The state government’s plan to have the Bilaspur-Manali-Leh railway line project executed at the earliest has suffered a setback
- The Railways Minister said no doubt the project was of ‘strategic importance’, but it was not feasible due to harsh topography, difficult terrain and other constraints. He said other modes of transport would be explored
He said that the budget on infrastructure and other schemes related to Himachal had been increased from average Rs 108 crore from 2009 to 2014 to average Rs 280 crore from 2014 to 2019 and the budget for 2021 was Rs 770 crore.
Earlier, during a meeting between Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur and the Railways Minister, it was decided that a fresh survey of the Jagadhari-Paonta Sahib new railway line would be conducted with focus on freight expected from the industrial area of Paonta Sahib.
The Chief Minister said that steps must also be taken to expedite the work on Bhanupalli-Beri and Chandigarh railway lines. He thanked the Union minister for allocating Rs 405 crore for the Bhanupalli-Beri railway line and Rs 200 crore for the Chandigarh-Baddi railway line.
He said that the Chandigarh-Baddi railway line would go a long way in giving a boost to industrial activities as industrialists would be able to easily transport raw materials as well as manufactured products in various destinations.
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