The Chandigarh-Ludhiana rail link is likely to be completed within a period of three months. Once the rail link is complete, the number of trains on the route could be increased while the commuting time will reduce. Union Minister for Railways Pawan Kumar Bansal, after flagging off the Chandigarh-New Delhi Shatabdi on Monday, said work on the Chandigarh-Ludhiana link has been expedited. By the end of March the construction on the remaining portion and testing of the track is likely to get completed, he added.
At present the trains on this section have to take a detour. When the link is complete, the commuting time would reduce by around 30 minutes. Bansal said that once the link is complete, proposals for additional trains on the route would be mooted.
The construction of the 110-km long rail link has been under way since 2000 and several deadlines for completion have been missed due to various hurdles including trouble in acquiring land for laying of the track and construction of two bridges on the remaining portion. The latest roadblock was due to shortage of sand for construction.
The project is divided into three sections: A 45-km stretch in the Chandigarh-New Morinda section, a 14-km stretch in the New Morinda-Sahnewal section and a 51-km stretch in Sahnewal-Ludhiana section, where construction is incomplete.
Bansal further stated that proposal of Ludhiana-Howrah freight corridor would also be expedited to facilitate the movement of goods. Once the corridor is complete it could further be extended to other destinations, he added.
On efforts to turn Chandigarh into a world class station, Bansal said that the project would have to be under the public-private partnership model as the Railways does not have the necessary funds. Chandigarh is one among five stations across the country that would be developed as world class stations.