Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu today flagged off the Naharlagun-Guwahati Shatabdi Express and laid the foundation of the Murkongselek-Pasighat broad gauge line in Arunachal Pradesh. Commencement of surveys for seven new lines in the state was also announced by the Union minister through video conferencing from the NFR headquarters at Maligaon in Guwahati. Out of the 26.15 km railway track from Murkongselek in Dhemaji district of Assam to Pasighat in East Siang district of Arunachal, 23.55 km line falls in the state with three railway stations – Sille, Rani and Pasighat, railway officials said.
There would be 24 major and 35 minor bridges in the track which was sanctioned last year with an estimated cost of Rs 414.85 crore. The seven new lines in the state for which reconnaissance engineering cum traffic survey commenced are Lekhapani-Kharsang (25 km), Itakhola-Seijosa (18 km), Doomdooma-Namsai-Wakro (96 km), Dangri-Roing (60 km), Deomali-Naharkatia (20 km), Lekhapani-Miao-Deban (75 km) and Tinsukia-Pasighat via Simaluguri and Kanubari (300 km).
The train will depart from Naharlagun at 5am on every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, while, it will leave for Naharlagun from Guwahati every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. There will be three stoppages enroute to Guwahati at Harmuti, Rangapara (North) and Rangiya, according to Arunachal Times. Not only this, these trains are fully air-conditioned and of much higher standard than most Indian trains.
Shatabi trains are considered as prestigious trains by the Indian Railways and this class of train normally runs over short to medium distances and offers fast connectivity with only a few intermediate stops. The North Eastern Frontier Railway stated that these types of super fast passenger trains are operated by the Indian Railways to connect metro cities with other important cities mainly for tourism, pilgrimage or business.