The Northeast Frontier Railway will introduce electric loco services between New Jalpaiguri station (NJP) and Malda for the first time next week, as the electrification of the route is complete.
S. Chanda, the chief public relation officer of the NFR, said the electric loco service of passenger trains would operate between NJP and Malda latest by January 15.
A source said the chief railway safety officer of the NFR had inspected the electrified tracks on December 28. After his visit, there were trial runs of goods trains between NJP and Katihar. During the trial runs, technical experts have confirmed that the route is ready for introduction of the passenger service.
“A few works are in progress, which include training of loco pilots, logistic arrangements and identification of areas where the electric locos would be kept. We hope these would be over in a week and then, the service would commence,” said an official.
When some senior officials of the NFR were at NJP last year, they had hinted that the electric loco service would start early this year.
The source said any of the important trains originating from NJP would be hauled by the electric loco along the 233km stretch between NJP and Malda.
Darjeeling Mail and Shatabdi Express are among the important trains which originate from NJP. The launch of the electric loco services has been welcomed by the business fraternity of north Bengal.
“We welcome the NFR’s decision to introduce electric locos from NJP as it would save passengers’ travel time and railways’ revenue. We would also like to urge the railways to introduce electric local trains which would connect NJP with Jalpaiguri, Haldibari, Alipurduar and Cooch Behar,” said Biswajit Das, secretary, Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industries, North Bengal.