With regular train services suspended during the lockdown, Indian Railways succeeded in bridging a major gap between north Bengal and the rest of the country by completing electrification of the entire stretch till New Jalpaiguri.
On Wednesday, the 02377 Sdah-Noq Special (the Padatik Express) will be the first express train to run from Sealdah to New Jalpaiguri with an electric locomotive. According to Eastern Railway (ER), the running time of the train between Sealdah and New Jalpaiguri will get reduced by five minutes. While this may not sound much, this is a major development, so far as infrastructure upgrade is concerned.
“We have been working towards electrification of this stretch for quite some time now. While work had been completed till Malda Town, work was continuing for a small distance beyond that. The work has now been completed and the Sealdah-New Alipurduar Special will be the first passenger-carrying train to run with an electric traction between Sealdah and New Jalpaiguri from Wednesday. When the Darjeeling Mail starts running again, it will also be hauled by an electric locomotive,” Nikhil Kumar Chakraborty, CPRO, ER, said.
Among the other important trains that will be benefited due to the electrification are the Howrah-NJP Shatabdi Express. Electric locomotives not only result in savings but are also much more reliable. The breakdown rate among diesel locomotives is much higher when compared to electric ones. Over the years, Indian Railways has been attempting to reduce diesel costs through electrification. Over the last few years, orders for electric locomotives have also gone up.
Chakraborty also pointed to how ER has also completed electrification between Shibnarayanpur and Bhagalpur, allowing important trains like the Brahmaputra Mail to use electric traction.
“It will be a great day when the Darjeeling Mail uses electric traction for the first time for the entire stretch. The Darjeeling Mail is one of the oldest and prestigious trains in Indian Railways. It started at a time when there was no direct rail connectivity between north Bengal and Kolkata. The train has witnessed a lot of changes,” an official said.
Source:Times of India