New Delhi: A day after Pakistan handed over Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman to IAF authorities, the Indian Railways on Saturday announced that it has restored the services of Samjhauta Express – the train which runs between India and Pakistan. The train will leave from national capital for Pakistan on Sunday, March 3. Also Read - US Determined To Help India In 'Hour Of Need' Amid COVID-19 Surge, Says Kamala Harris
Earlier on February 28, Indian Railways has suspended operations of Samjhauta Express from its end, saying the decision was based on “purely operational reasons” arising from the fact that the train has been carrying very few passengers due to stoppage of services from Pakistan’s side. Also Read - IPL 2021: When and Where IPL 2021 Can Be Rescheduled?
“With no passengers from Pakistan, it makes no sense to run the train from our end. The cancellation has been done for purely operational reasons. Hopefully, we will be able to resume services once tensions de-escalate,” PTI had quoted a source.
Meanwhile, Pakistan had cancelled its services right after an air strike by the Indian Air Force, which decimated the biggest terror camps of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in Balakot.
The train will start running from the Indian side on Sunday, while on the Pakistan side it will leave Lahore on Monday on its return journey.
The Samjhauta Express, named after the Hindi word for “agreement”, comprises six sleeper coaches and an AC 3-tier coach. The train service was started on July 22, 1976 under the Shimla Agreement that settled the 1971 war between the two nations. From Lahore, the train departs on Monday and Thursday. The train operates from Delhi on every Wednesday and Sunday.
If reports are to be believed, the occupancy of the train, which is around 70 per cent, had fallen drastically after the Pulwama terror attack that claimed lives of 40 CRPF personnel on February 14.