Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone and inaugurate several railway projects valued at more than Rs 8,000 crores in Odisha on Thursday via video conferencing, officials said.
He will flag off the Puri-Howrah Vande Bharat Express on Thursday from the pilgrimage town of Odisha, a South Eastern Railway official said in Kolkata.
The train will cover the 500 km distance between Howrah and Puri, the abode of Lord Jagannath, in around six and a half hours.
Apart from that, Modi will lay the foundation stone for redeveloping Puri and Cuttack railway stations so that passengers can get all modern amenities in future.
The prime minister will also dedicate 100 per cent electrification of the rail network in Odisha. This will reduce the operating and maintenance cost and reduce reliance on imported crude oil, an official of the East Coast Railways said in Bhubaneswar.
Modi is also scheduled to dedicate the doubling of the Sambalpur-Titlagarh rail line, a new broad gauge rail line between Angul and Sukinda, the third line connecting Manoharpur-Rourkela-Jharsuguda-Jamga and a new broad-gauge line between Bichhupali and Jhartarbha.
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These will cater to the increased traffic demands as a result of rapid industrial development in the steel, power & mining sectors in Odisha and will also help ease the pressure on passenger traffic in these rail sections.
The Howrah-Puri-Howrah Vande Bharat Express will be flagged off from Puri at around 1 pm by the Prime Minister through the virtual mode, the SER official said.
Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw will grace the programme at Puri station.
This is the second Vande Bharat Express that West Bengal is getting after the one that runs between Howrah and New Jalpaiguri.
With Puri being a very popular destination for tourists from West Bengal and its surroundings as both a pilgrimage and a beach resort town, the semi-high-speed train is likely to be an instant hit among travellers, according to travel agents.
Regular run of the 22895/22896 Howrah-Puri-Howrah Vande Bharat Express will commence from May 20, the official said.
The train which will run six days a week except Thursdays, will depart Howrah at 6.10 am and reach Puri at 12.35 pm. In the return direction, it will leave Puri at 1.50 pm and arrive at Howrah at 8.30 pm.
The train, with 16 coaches, will stop at Kharagpur, Balasore, Bhadrak, Jajpur Keonjhar Road, Cuttack, Bhubaneswar and Khurda Road, the official said.
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