LUCKNOW: Ahead of Ayodhya Ram Janmabhoomi temple coronation and Maha Kumbh opening, the Indian Railway is undertaking massive rail infrastructure overhaul in Uttar Pradesh, as the state government expects upto 40 crore pilgrims in the latter event and at least four lakh during anointing.
Following inspection and review meeting with officials of Lucknow division on Friday, the General Manager Northern Railway (NR), Shobhan Chaudhuri informed TOI, that in next two months the division has set a target to complete doubling of rail track originating or heading towards Ayodhya.
For instance, by October 31 a double track will be commissioned between Ayodhya junction to Darshan Nagar. This track leads up to Jaunpur junction and then further to Varanasi.
According to railways, the NR Lucknow division has already completed the doubling of Jaunpur junction to Shahganj junction and now has focused to complete the section between Shahganj junction to Akbarpur junction, so that entire stretch between Ayodhya junction to Jaunpur junction can have double track which could help railways to regulate train movement toward Varanasi.
Double track between Akbarpur junction to Darshan Nagar has already been commissioned.
Apart from this, the Lucknow division is also working to complete the doubling of track between Ayodhya Cantt to Barabanki junction. At present, railway is working to double the track between Barabanki junction to Rasauli station, then Safdarganj to Rudauli and then Sohawal to Ayodhya Cantt.
To assist in smooth express movement, Lucknow division is expected to commission an upgraded Salarapur freight terminal built at Rs 130 crore next to Ayodhya Cantt railway station by the end of this month. Further, the concourse of Ayodhya Junction will be completed by December end.
“We are going to build a mega scale holding area for pilgrims next to Ayodhya junction, so that they can rest and eat while waiting for trains. The area will have provisions for toilets and other human needs, “said GM NR.
For Prayagraj, the railway is doubling the track between Janghai junction to Phaphamau junction, and Janghai junction to Pratapgarh junction as alternative rail operation between Varanasi junction to Prayagraj junction and Charbagh junction to Varanasi junction via Rae Bareli junction for upcoming Maha Kumbh Mela pilgrims movement. The projects are expected to be completed by December 2024.
“For Maha Kumbh Mela, apart from doubling the track, all zones including NCR, NER, NR and ECR are coordinating with UP government to complete construction of railway over bridge in order to eliminate manned level crossing, so that passenger operation is not affected during mela,” said GM.
Meanwhile, following the inspection by Chief Administration Construction III, Suresh Kumar Sapra, the Lucknow division of NR commissioned a 1.49 km long chord rail track between Jaunpur junction to Jaunpur city via Zafarabad. With this line, the railway will no longer be required to reverse three express and five freight trains on a daily basis, and ultimately it will save time and revenue.

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