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History was created in railway connectivity of Northeast today with the commencement of the passenger traffic between Lumding and Silchar. The first passenger train (55616/55615 Silchar-Guwahati Fast Passenger) was flagged off by the Union Minister of Railways,Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, through remote from Rail Bhawan, New Delhi at around 10.00 A.M. today. A parallel function was organized at Silchar Railway station where the Union Minister of State for RailwaysShri Manoj Sinha was in attendance along with the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Youth Affaires and SportsShri Sarbananda Sonowal, Honourable Lok Sabha MP Kumari Sushmita Dev,  Honourable MLA Shri Dilip Kumar Paul and local leaders.

As soon as Shri Suresh Prabhakar Parbhu flagged off, which was visible at Silchar Railway Station through video link, the Fast Passenger Train chugged out of Silchar Railway Station amid loud cheers from thousands of enthusiastic locals who saw a long-cherished dream being fulfilled.

The train with fifteen coaches -  o­ne AC 3Tier coach, three Sleeper Class coaches, three General Second class coaches, six Chair Cars & two Luggage-cum-parcel vans - saw 100% booking o­n the inaugural run itself which is an indication of the extent of patronage that this line will get. The train, which will take off from Silchar at 05.00 A.M. every day, will stop at all stations between Silchar and Lumding and at Hojai to reach Guwahati at 05.15 P.M. same day. o­n the return journey, the train will leave Guwahati at 11.55 P.M. every day to reach Silchar at 01.10 P.M. next day.

Lumding – Silchar Gauge Conversion project has been a formidable engineering challenge because of the typical unstable geology of the region. The 210km track has 79 major bridges, 340 minor bridges and 21 tunnels. The longest tunnel is 3.235km and the tallest bridge over the river Doyang is 54 metres tall. There are a total of 33 stations in the Silchar – Lumding section.

It is noteworthy that beyond Silchar, N. F. Railway would be commissioning Broad Gauge connection up to Agartala by March 2016. By 2020, all the State Capitals are planned to be connected by Broad Gauge rail link. Railway offers the cheapest and the most reliable mode of transport in these areas and the planned expansion will benefit the people of remote areas in getting connected to the mainland.

(Pranav Jyoti Sharma)

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