Chandigarh-Ludhiana rail link to open by 2011

Nearly a decade after starting work on a 110-km rail link between the industrial hub of Ludhiana with this Punjab capital, a railway official Wednesday said the link will be operational by 2011.


"If the work goes as planned then the Chandigarh-Ludhiana railway link will become operational by 2011. Seeing a heavy rush of passengers and commodity traffic on this route this link is very important for the railways," H.K. Jaggi, divisional railway manager (Ambala division), told reporters.


"We started working on the link during 1999-2000 and by the end of 2006, 45 km stretch till Morinda was ready. But after that many problems regarding land acquisition and other operational hiccups in the project delayed the work," he said.


Jaggi said the work on a 30-km stretch is pending on the link.


"Last month we completed all the formalities of land acquisition. Hopefully the first train will run on this track in 2011," Jaggi said.


The official said the railways are also working on the Amritsar-Chandigarh rail link.


"Many people travel daily on this route and we also want to run a direct train between Amritsar and Chandigarh. However, the project is stalled because of land acquisition problems but we will soon come out with a concrete plan," said Jaggi.


Talking about the problem of unmanned railway crossings in the state, Jaggi said: "On priority basis we are working to convert all the unmanned crossings into manned ones and to upgrade the existing manned crossings."


In May 2009, six students were killed when their school van collided with a train at an unmanned railway crossing at Noor Mahal town in Jalandhar district. Three children were killed and 13 injured when a school bus was hit by a rail engine at an unmanned crossing in Ferozepur town in February this year.


"Gradually we are working to do away with the railway crossings by building ROB (rail over bridge) and RUB (rail under bridge) in place of them," Jaggi said.


IANS / 29 July 2009