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Good news for North East-All states to get rail connectivity by 2020

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By Newsgram Staff Writer

The Indian railways is planning to connect all the eight states in India’s northeast by 2020. Currently, northeastern states have around 2,700 km of railway line comprising meter gauge and broad gauge lines.

“We would connect all the states of the eight states by rail within 2020,” Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) General manager Rakesh Kumar Singh said, while addressing a press conference here on Monday. Singh, leading a 45-member NFR team, arrived at the Silchar railway station from Guwahati on Sunday with the first nine-bogie railway trial inspection train, which left for Guwahati on Monday. The NFR team successfully carried out the trial run of a diesel engine from Lumding to Silchar on the newly-converted broad gauge line on Friday.

Mizoram and Manipur

Aizawl and Imphal would be connected by railway network by 2018 and 2019 respectively. The capitals of the remaining states would be linked by 2020. Work is on to achieve the target, officials said.

Tripura and Assam

Tripura’s capital Agartala is already connected by rail though the line between Silchar (Assam) and Agartala is meter gauge. Agartala came up on the country’s rail map in 2008. The Silchar-Agartala railway track would be converted from meter gauge to broad gauge by March next year.

Meghalaya and Sikkim

Railway lines will reach Meghalaya’s capital Shillong and Rangpo in Sikkim by March 31, 2020. Work is in full swing to fulfill the projects within time to connect Nagaland capital Kohima. At present, the state has 13 km railway line up to Dimapur town.

The regular train service on the new broad gauge line would be conducted from April after clearance by the Railway Safety Commissioner. The total length of Lumding-Silchar broad gauge line is 220 km and it consists of 17 tunnels (the longest 3.235 km long), 79 major bridges, 340 minor bridges, 28 railway stations and four halt stations.

History of the rail project in the North Eastern Region

The foundation of the much-delayed gauge conversion project – Lumding to Silchar and Silchar to Agartala – was laid by the then prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda at Silchar in 1996. The railways have faced severe criticism for the delay in completing the Rs.5,185-crore project that is considered to be a lifeline for southern Assam, Tripura, Mizoram and Manipur. Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu, in his budget speech in parliament on February 26, said the Indian Railways was committed to providing rail connectivity to all the northeastern states.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 29, 2014 flagged off a train between Meghalaya’s Mendipathar and Guwahati, a distance of 131 km, and laid the foundation stone for a 51.38 km new broad gauge railway line between Bhairabi and Sairang in Mizoram. On February 20, Modi flagged off the first weekly air-conditioned express train service between Delhi and Arunachal Pradesh in Itanagar.

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Ministry of Railways And Google Launch An Application To Preserve Indian Railways

The Indian Railways started its journey in 1853 between Boribunder and Thane, and has expanded to be the fourth largest railway network in the world.

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Indian Railways is one of the most important and controversial transport in India. Wikimedia Commons
Indian Railways is one of the most important and controversial transport in India. Wikimedia Commons

In a first-of-its-scale heritage mapping and digitisation project, Google and Ministry of Railways on Friday launched a project that aims to preserve the cultural heritage of the Indian Railways.

The two-year digitisation project “The Railways-Lifeline of a Nation” is a comprehensive digital document viewable on Google’s Arts and Culture website. It was launched at the National Rail Museum here.

The project is divided into “Journeys”, “People”, “Heritage” and “Engineering” sections, each containing visual and textual narratives that rail enthusiasts can access for free.

Indian Railways
India has many railways stations famous for various reasons. Wikimedia Commons

It comprises photographs, documentaries, text, virtual tours, 360-degree videos, online exhibits, and maps, pertaining to the Indian Railways.

Minister of Railways, Piyush Goyal via video-conferencing said that the project is an experience for the “1.3 billion people of India about what the 1.3 million railway employees are doing for serving them”.

“From the Nilgiri mountains to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Station, let the people of India relive their childhood… through the train journey to Madhira and through the Darjeeling toy train; let’s show them the Kangra Valley, the Kalka-Shimla experience so that it could be enjoyed by someone in Coimbatore or Ooty,” he said.

Indian Railways
Vijayawada Railway Station was constructed in 1888. Wikimedia Commons

Along with several railway lines, the project also documents stories of 32 railway employees including engineers, ticket checkers, trackmen, and shunters.

Also capturing stories from the Indian Railways are other sections like the street art, literature, Bollywood, music, and sports, which demonstrate the inseparability of trains and culture.

The online project will also materialise as digital exhibits at 22 stations in India including New Delhi, Bengaluru, Coimbatore, Guwahati, Howrah, Secunderabad and Varanasi, Google said.

Indian Railways
Minister of Railways, Piyush Goyal via video-conferencing said that the project is an experience for the “1.3 billion people of India .

The event also saw the inauguration of a permanent exhibition of these online resources in the National Rail Museum premises.

Also Read: Google Turns 20, Feels Nostalgic

Notably, the Indian Railways started its journey in 1853 between Boribunder and Thane, and has expanded to be the fourth largest railway network in the world. (IANS)