First train between Delhi-Katra, Shri Shakti Express started today

New Delhi/Jammu: The first superfast train – Shri Shakti Express – between the national capital and Katra at the foot of the popular religious hill shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi in Jammu and Kashmir started Monday evening, railways officials said.

The service started 10 days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the 25 km-long Katra-Udhampur railway line that links Katra directly with the rest of the country.

According to Northern Railway, around 1,000 people boarded the 18-coach train that left New Delhi Railway Station at 5.30 p.m.

The train is scheduled to reach the Mata Vaishno Devi Railway Sstation of Katra around 5.10 a.m. Tuesday.

Katra is the base camp town of the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine visited by millions of devotees from all over the country each year.

The superfast air-conditioned train will cover the distance of about 650 km between Katra in Reasi district and New Delhi in approximately 12 hours.

Railway sources said the operations of Shri Shakti Express will start from Delhi and Katra the same day.

A train will leave Katra at 10.55 p.m. Monday and reach New Delhi at 10.45 a.m. Tuesday.

The express train has one first class air-conditioned coach, five air-conditioned two-tier, nine air-conditioned three-tier coaches and a pantry car.

The train will stop at Ambala, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Pathankot, Jammu and Udhampur.

Indian Railway sources told IANS the next train to be started from Katra town would be the Katra-Kalika Express.

"Jammu Mail and Uttar Samparak Kranti trains would also be subsequently extended to Katra railway station in the future," a railway source said.