Today's Paper

Thar Express back on track

Sunny Sebastian

JAIPUR: The train service between Munabao in Rajasthan's Barmer district and Khokhrapar in Pakistan's Sindh Province was resumed on Saturday after a gap of six months.

71 passengers

The Thar Express, which began its journey at 1 a.m. from Jodhpur, carried 71 Pakistan-bound passengers. It reached Munabao, last station on Indian Territory, at 7 a.m.

The service has been suspended as the track was damaged following floods in Rajasthan in August 2006.

Fewer numbers

The train, which chugged on the repaired track, carried passengers much below its capacity even going by the recent decision of both countries to limit the number from each side to 400.

North West Railway Chief Public Relations Officer S.B. Gandhi attributed the fewer numbers to resumption of the service at short notice."It is only a matter of time before the service picks up once again. In fact, the heavy traffic forced us to restrict the number so that visa and security clearances could be carried out properly," he said.Earlier, in one of the trips, it carried a record number of 1,100 passengers.

As such the train, with seven bogies five reserved and two unreserved has a capacity of 500.

Anniversary today

Interestingly, it is a happy occasion for watchers of the "Friendship Train," as the service was back on track a day before the first anniversary of the commencement of the service on February 18, 2006 after 40 years.