Sambalpur/Bhubaneswar: Giving wings to a long-held dream of western Orissa, the Jammu-Tawi Express rolled out of Platform 1 at Sambalpur Railway Station Saturday and headed straight for Allahabad. With religious significance added, the train would enable passengers reach the holy city in 24 hours’ time for immersion of ashes (astikalash) of their near and dear ones after cremation.
The train was flagged off via video conferencing at the hands of Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, in New Delhi. Speaking from the platform in Sambalpur, local MP Nagendra Pradhan said this was a pleasant moment for the people waiting for such a facility for many years. The Nizamuddin- Raigarh Express too would be brought to Sambalpur soon, he said.
Allahabad is the meeting point (sangam) of rivers Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati.
Bargarh MP, Pravash Singh, described Indian Railways as the lifeline of the nation and said the Rajdhani Express from Bhubaneswar would pass via Sambalpur once every week, soon, as desired by the people of the region. Such a promise had been made by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik some time ago. Kuchinda MLA Rabinarain Naik also spoke.
Sambalpur MLA Dr Raseswari Panigrahi thanked the Railways for keeping up the promise of having the direct train link from here to Allahabad. She raised three more demands – the launch of a Pondichery – Bhubneswar Express and the Hyderabad Visaka Express linking Sambalpur with two major stations — Jharsuguda and Rourkela, and these to be brought under the Sambalpur railways division for a revenue gain.
Sambalpur DRM Dinesh Kumar Singh welcomed the guests and audience and detailed about the technical aspects of the new train in his division.
On the inaugural run, the train for Allahabad rolled out as a special train from Sambalpur towards Jammu Tawi at 11:30am. However, the regular service in the extended portion will commence from August 13, 2017 as per schedule.
As per the schedule, the Sambalpur-Jammu Tawi Link Express (18109) will leave Sambalpur at 7:45am every day and reach Jammu Tawi at 2:10pm the next day. In the return direction, the train will leave Jammu Tawi at 2:25pm every day and reach Sambalpur at 5:45pm the third day. On the extended portion, this train will provide stoppages at Jharsuguda, Bamra and Rajgangpur — between Sambalpur and Rourkela. The timings and stoppages for the train between Rourkela and Jammu Tawi remain unchanged.
This apart, the railway minister also launched free Wi-Fi services at Palasa and Srikakulam stations and inaugurated the passengers’ waiting room and dormitories at Parvatipuram Station under East Coast Railway jurisdiction.