New Delhi, Feb. 8: The tracks are ready for the Thar Express, which will again steam across the desert sands on February 18 after nearly 40 years.
The second train ' after the Samjhauta Express ' to run between India and Pakistan, it will go slightly beyond Khokrapar in Pakistan and stop at Munabao on the Indian side. The train will carry around 250-300 passengers every Saturday.
According to the agreement reached between the neighbours, Pakistan will ply the train for the first six months. The journey from Pakistan will terminate at Munabao. The train will return the next day with Indian passengers on board.
The Munabao station has been given a facelift with immigration check counters and a train link till Jodhpur.
“The Pakistani passengers having visas valid for different cities will first go to Jodhpur on an Indian train from where they will have several options to link up their journey further to anywhere in India. Similarly, we have been told that in Pakistan, the train will go to Mirpur Khas from Khokrapar and then will link up to Hyderabad and Karachi,” said a home ministry source.
After covering a distance of about 8 km from Khokrapar, the Thar Express will enter India at Zero Point and will move under heavy security cover provided by the Border Security Force till Munabao, situated 2.5 km from the border in western Rajasthan.
“As this is a smuggling-prone route, we have erected a 12-foot-high fence parallel to the tracks between Zero Point and Munabao. Security posts have been built around the station and BSF jeeps would accompany the train till Munabao,” said the official.
The Railway Armed Police and Rajasthan police will take over passenger security for the 145-km journey between Munabao and Jodhpur.