Rail services in Kashmir resumed on Sunday after three months of being suspended due to security reasons. By Shrimayee Thakur
Normalcy in Kashmir is seeing a slow return with trains finally beginning to operate in the valley again. Rail services resumed fully on Sunday, as the first train made a run from Srinagar to Banihal through tense south Kashmir. Although only one run was scheduled on Sunday, two runs have started from the following day.
Before opening the service to the public, Northern Railways conducted trail runs in the newly-formed Union Territory last week. Two trial runs were conducted on Saturday, including one along the Srinagar-Banihar route.
This is the first time the rail service in the state has become operational for the public since August 5, when the valley went on lock down following the abrogation of Article 370. The abrogation, which removed the state’s special status and divided the region into two union territories. This move was considered controversial and deemed likely to cause conflict in the region, in turn resulting in a complete lock down of Kashmir.
Due to security reasons, authorities have directed the railways to operate trains in Kashmir only at 10 am and 3 pm. The Firozpur Division commenced a limited passenger service, with three pairs of trains running between Banihal-Baramulla-Banihal. Timings of the trains are as under:
1. Train No 74626 will depart from Budgam Railway Station (BDGM) at 09:40 and arrive Banihal (BAHL) at 12:00.
2. Train No 74615 will depart from Banihal (BAHL) at 12:10 and arrive Budgam (BDGM) at 14:20.
3. Train No 74619 will depart from Srinagar (SINA) at 10:05 and arrive Baramulla (BRML) at 11:25.
4. Train No 74628 will depart from Baramulla (BRML) at 11:35 and arrive Banihal (BAHL) at 14:55.
5. Train No 74625 will depart from Banihal (BAHL) at 10:00 and arrive Baramulla (BRML) at 13:05.
6. Train No 74640 will depart from Baramulla (BRML) at 13:15 and arrive at Srinagar (SINA) at 14:40.
Mini buses have also started operating along some routes of the city, along with cabs and auto-rickshaws. According to sources, private transportation is running unhindered in the valley as well.