New Delhi: As many as 67 express trains and 26 passenger trains are being introduced this year, Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal announced on Tuesday. Presenting the 2013-14 Railway Budget, Bansal also said that five Mainline Electrical Multiple Units (MEMUs) are being introduced this year besides eight DEMUs.
Besides, he proposed extension of as many as 57 trains and increasing the frequency of 24 trains. The express trains include Hazrat Nizamuddin-Mumbai AC Express via Bhopal, Khandwa and Bhusawal, which would be a weekly service, and a similar venture between Bikaner and Chennai.
As part of providing greater connectivity to Vaishnodevi, a New Delhi-Katra AC Express is being introduced, which would run six days a week. The Katra stretch connecting the holy town to Udhampur is expected to the commissioned by May-June.
With the commissioning of the line, feasibility of issuing 'yatra slips' to pilgrims travelling by rail at the time of booking of the ticket is being explored in coordination with the Mata Vaishnodevi Shrine Board. A Puri-Ajmer Express, which would be a weekly service, is also being introduced so also a weekly Puri-Sai Nagar Shirdi Express.
Una-Nangaldam in Himachal Pradesh is being connected to Hazoor Saheb Nanded in Maharashtra through a weekly express train which would travel via Anandpur Saheb. Also being introduced is a weekly Ahmedabad-Jodhpur express and a similar venture between Bandra and Haridwar, and Bandra and Jaisalmer. Yesvantpur-Lucknow Express is also being started weekly via Rae Bareli and Pratapgarh.
The Railway Minister said that to facilitate the journey of pilgrims, he has decided to add more trains to religious destinations as trains to such places are always overcrowded. He has proposed to take up the construction of railway line from Rama Mandi to Maur Mandi via Talwandi Sabo to provide connectivity to Takht Shri Damdama Sahib, which is the only Takht among the five Sikh Takhts that is yet to be connected by rail link.