TAMIL NADU

Gooty-Pendekal rail line inauguration today

ANANTAPUR, DEC. 27. The Union Minister for Railway, Mr. Nitish Kumar, will inaugurate the much-awaited Gooty-Pendekal bypass railway line on Friday. Operation of the line will reduce the distance between Hyderabad-Bangalore, Hyderabad-Tirupati and Bangalore-Visakhapatnam by about 44 km.

According to officials of the South Central Railway, the 29.27-km bypass line was laid at a cost of about Rs. 47.09 crores. The bypass line was cleared by the Railway Safety Commissioner on December 25.

The Union Minister would flag off the first train to be passed on the new line at Gooty. The Gooty junction has been spruced up for the occasion and the passenger facilities have also been improved. Official sources said the line would be inaugurated formally on Friday but would be opened for passenger trains only after a month's time, as some works were yet to be completed. A few goods trains were expected to be run on the line immediately.

Once operationalised completely, six trains -- Bangalore-New Delhi Rajadhani Express, Bangalore-Jaipur Pink City Express, Secunderabad-Bangalore Karnataka Express, Visakhapatnam-Bangalore Prashanti Express, Secunderabad-Tirupati Venkatadri Express and Guntur-Bangalore passenger trains -- would be diverted to the new line bypassing Guntakal.

Diversion of these trains is also likely to take some sheen out of the Guntakal junction.