Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday flagged off the Vande Bharat Express, also known as Train 18, between Delhi and Katra stations. He also promised that India will see a developed Jammu and Kashmir in the next 10 years.
"I am proud that this Made in India train is being flagged-off from here today. The railways is working towards achieving its targets keeping in mind principles of speed, scale and service," Shah said at the ceremony.
Shah said the Delhi-Katra Vande Bharat Express was a "big gift" for Jammu and Kashmir's development. Shah also said that Article 370 was the "biggest roadblock" in the state's development and within 10 years, it will be one of the most developed regions of the country.
"Before abrogation of Article 370, there were many obstacles in Jammu and Kashmir's path to development. In next 10 years, Jammu and Kashmir will be one of the most developed states. The journey of development has begun with Vande Bharat Express set to boost tourism in state," he added.
The first commercial run of the Delhi-Katra Vande Bharat Express will be on October 5. The booking of tickets is now open on the IRCTC website, the railways said on Sunday.
Shah was accompanied by Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, Union Ministers Dr Jitendra Singh and Dr Harsh Vardhan.
Train number 22439 New Delhi-Katra Vande Bharat Express will depart from the New Delhi Railway Station at 6 am to reach Katra at 2 pm. En route, the train will halt at Ambala Cantt, Ludhiana and Jammu Tawi for two minutes each.
On the return journey the same day, train number 22440 Katra-New Delhi Vande Bharat Express will leave from the Katra Railway Station at 3 pm to reach the New Delhi Railway Station at 11 pm. Train 18 will ply on all days of the week except for Tuesday.
"Railways will connect country from Kashmir to Kanyakumari before 15th August, 2022," said Railway Minister Piyush Goyal.
Shah also said that, "Railways should document its relationship with Mahatma Gandhi as it forms a significant episode in the freedom struggle.".
This is the second Vande Bharat Express, the first runs between Delhi and Varanasi.