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PM Narendra Modi inaugurates Udhampur-Katra rail line; flags off Vaishno Devi Express
Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off the first train from the station nestled in Trikuta Hills in Jammu and Kashmir's Reasi district today. Now the pilgrims will be able to directly reach Katra, which is the base camp of Mata Vaishno Devi shrine.

PM Narendra Modi on this occasion said that he was committed for the development of Jammu and Kashmir. He said that in next ten years Katra will be hub of economic growth. He also suggested that new train to Katra be named Shreeshakti express and assured the people of India that they will make the Railway Stations modern with proper facilities. PM Modi said that this track will be extended up Banihal in future.

Modi hinted private investment in Railways, saying, "I have held a detailed meeting with Railway officials, soon you will find change, even private players will be willing to invest."

On this occasion, J&K CM Omar Abdhullah congratulated the officials for the launch of the Udhampur-Katra rail link. He also thanked the former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee for initiating this project and former PM Manmohan Singh for taking a personal initiative for the completion of this project.

He said that the realisation of this rail line will boost tourism in the region and requested the PM to revamp Jammu railway station.

The Udampur-Katra rail link, which is 292 kilometers long took 12 years to complete, with an estimated cost of Rs 1,132.75 crore. Jammu and Kashmir Chief minister Omar Abdullaha was also present at the event along with the PM Narendra Modi. This is the first visit of Modi to J&K after becoming the Prime Minister.

This train will traverse through seven tunnels and over 30 small and large bridges. There will be a small station - Chakrakhwal - between Udhampur and Katra.

According to the railways officials, a set of local trains from Jammu to Katra and Pathankot to Katra is also likely to be introduced and there are demands for several zones for train services to Katra. There is also a possibility of launching a new train between Varanasi and Katra, with the purpose to connect two holy places by train.

Railways is also considering to extend Jammu Mail and Sampark Kranti Express up to Katra. While new trains namely Katra-Kalka Express, New Delhi-Katra AC express are already in the pipeline.

PM Modi will also chair a high-level security review meeting at the Badami Bagh headquarters of the Army's 15th corps at J&K. The meeting will also be attended by GOC-n-C Army's Northern Command Lt Gen DS Hooda, Director General of Police K Rajendra Kumar and other agencies. And will also inaugurate a 240 MW hydro-power in the border town of Uri in Baramulla district.

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