JAMMU: The Railway Board has allotted eight coaches for a Vande Bharat Express to run in Jammu and Kashmir along the Udhampur- Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link (USBRL) on Tuesday – in an indication that the Central government may announce the opening of Vande Bharat connecting Kashmir to the rest of India before the Lok Sabha elections in 2024.
“The entire line has been electrified and the last leg of work along some tunnels is yet to be completed. But there is an intense push to inaugurate the link,” said a railway official.
Last week, the Northern Railway conducted a successful 15-km trial run of an electric train for the first time from Banihal in the Khari staton in Ramban district of Jammu and Kashmir.
Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw had stated earlier that the USBRL will be operational in early 2024.
“The plan is to run Vande Bharat trains along the stretch and also Vande Metro trains between Jammu and Srinagar, which will reduce the travelling time between the two towns to 3.5 hours,” Mr. Vaishnaw said. Currently, the travel time by road on the 248 km-long Jammu-Srinagar National Highway takes about seven hours.