Goods train service to NE resumes – Passengers may get to travel next month

A goods train plies between Guwahati and Bihar on Tuesday. Picture courtesy: NFR

Guwahati, Aug. 29: Direct passenger train connectivity between Assam and Bihar, which remained snapped because of floods since August 13, will resume from September 3 with the Northeast Frontier Railway today successfully running a goods train on the repaired track.

The chief public relations officer of NFR, Pranav Jyoti Sharma, said the stretch of railway tracks between Sudhani and Telta stations in Bihar under the NFR’s Katihar division, along with a bridge, which were severely damaged by floods and remained a stumbling block to resumption of train services between Northeast and the rest of the country through Bihar, were certified fit by the NFR’s engineering department this afternoon after passage of the goods train.

The tracks were suspended after the earth underneath was washed away by the overflowing river.

“The goods train which left Sudhani station at 1.50pm and arrived at Telta station at 2.25pm crossed the damaged section safely. The portion has been certified fit up to a maximum speed of 10 kilometres-per-hour. The portion of repaired track will be under very close observation during the passage of goods trains and movement of passenger trains will commence from September 3,” Sharma said. Rajdhani Express service will resume after September 3.

Direct train services were suspended on August 13 as tracks were submerged in parts of Assam, north Bengal and Bihar, causing a loss of Rs 74.04 crore to the NFR so far. “This is apart from the refunds made to passengers due to cancellation of trains. The losses to other departments like engineering, signal and telecommunication are being assessed,” Sharma said.

He said thousands of labourers along with railway officials worked round-the-clock at all the damaged sites to restore train services. “With the movement of goods trains, the flow of essential commodities to the Northeast will be restored. The speed restriction will continue in the affected sections till permanent repairs are carried out.”

At least 74 people died and more than 30 lakh people were impacted in the third wave of floods that hit 31 of the 33 districts of Assam this month. Another 84 people had died in last month’s floods that affected more than 25 lakh people in 25 districts. Embankments, roads, bridges, culverts and dykes were severely damaged across the state.

Parts of Chirang, Morigaon, Nagaon and Karbi Anglong districts continue to reel under floods, with more than 1.01 lakh people affected in 288 villages and 21,049 people taking shelter in 70 relief camps, said the daily flood bulletin issued by the Assam State Disaster Management Authority this evening. It also said that one person had drowned under Mayong revenue circle in Morigaon district in the past 24 hours.

Chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal had yesterday instructed deputy commissioners to ensure sufficient relief materials and submit detailed reports about the damage caused by the floods so that repair of roads, bridges, culverts and embankments could be started soon.

SUMIR KARMAKAR Telegraph India

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