Test run conducted successfully for Kurtha-Jayanagar railway serviceA train carrying railway employees, security personnel, people’s representatives and media persons was operated from Jayanagar, India to Kurtha, Dhanusha on Sunday.
The much-awaited Kurtha-Jayanagar railway service conducted a test run on Sunday.
According to the Nepal Railway Company, a train was operated along the tracks to test the condition of the physical infrastructure and manage security arrangements to make the railway service safe. The engine was run without passengers. Only the railway employees, security personnel, people’s representatives and media persons were on board.
“The train successfully ran from Jayanagar of India to Kurtha of Dhanusha during the test ride. The dry run will be continued until the prime ministers of Nepal and India jointly inaugurate the service,” said Niranjan Jha, general manager at the Nepal Railway Company. “We started the dry run to give a clear message to people that the railway service won’t be stopped under any pretext. It will also be helpful to find security lapses along the railway, train the employees and make them responsible and find out the daily operation cost to run the train,” said Jha.
The train ran at the speed of 40 kilometres per hour. “The train had to be stopped at several places. The domesticated animals of the local farmers are found crossing the railway tracks. Efforts are on to inform local people not to let their animals come to the railway tracks,” said Enayet Hussein, the deputy general manager of India’s Konkan Railways Corporation Ltd that has been providing technical support to operate railway service in Nepal.
Preparations are on to inaugurate the railway service in February last week. Inauguration had been planned on several dates earlier but that was not possible due to various delays including the Covid-19 pandemic.
On September 18, 2020, two brand new train sets arrived at Janakpur station amid much fanfare. Nepal had bought them at a cost of Rs846.5 million. But as their operation was delayed and both the trains were kept parked covered by tarps for about 17 months. The tarpaulin covers of the two train sets parked at Inaruwa Railway station in Janakpur were removed after 476 days a month ago.
After the formation of the Sher Bahadur Deuba government in July last year, general manager of the company Guru Prasad Bhattarai and around 150 staffers recruited by the erstwhile KP Oli-led government were removed. Though the government decided to appoint 186 employees to operate the railway service there are only 59 employees currently working at the company.
India’s Konkan Railways Corporation Ltd should provide 26 of its technical staff for a year to operate the railway service as per a bilateral agreement. “Fourteen of them have already arrived while 12 will arrive after the inauguration of the service,” said Jha.