- Samjhauta Express
The Samjhauta Express (
Hindi: समझौता एक्सप्रेस, Urdu: سمجھوتا اکسپريس), commonly called the Friendship Express, is a twice-weekly trainndash Tuesdays and Fridaysndash that runs between Delhiand Attariin Indiaand Wagahand Lahorein Pakistan. The word "samjhauta" means "accord" and "compromise" in both Hindiand Urdundash the national languages of India and Pakistan, respectively.
Until the reopening of the
Thar Express, this was the only rail connection between the two countries. The train was started on July 22, 1976following the Shimla Agreementand ran between Amritsarand Lahore, a distance of about 42 km. Following disturbances in Punjab in the late eighties, due to security reasons Indian Railwaysdecided to terminate the service at Attari, where customs and immigration clearances take place. On April 14, 2000, in an agreement between Indian Railwaysand Pakistan Railways(PR), the distance was revised to cover just under three km.
It was a daily train when the service started, and changed to a bi-weekly schedule in 1994. Earlier the rakes were returned to the home country the same day but later in 2000 the rake remained overnight at that location.
Its termini are
Lahorein Pakistan and Delhiin India. The border crossing takes place between Wagahin Pakistan and Attariin India. Originally, this was a through service with the same rake going all the way between the termini; later the Pakistani rake stopped at Attari at which point passengers had to change trains. The train service was set up with an agreement between Indian Railways(IR) and Pakistan Railways(PR) to alternately use an Indian and a Pakistani rake and locomotive for the train, six months at a time.
The train usually has between four and eight coaches. The rake supplied by Pakistan is usually hauled by an Alco DL-543 class ALU20 diesel loco (Lahore shed), with the entire train in the standard dark green livery of PR.
The train's first break of service was when it was discontinued on
January 1, 2002in the wake of the terrorist attack on the Indian Parliamenton December 13, 2001. Service resumed on January 15, 2004. Service was also suspended following the 27 December, 2007, assassination of Benazir Bhuttoas a preventive measure to deny militants a “high-value target” that was of great symbolic importance to both India and Pakistan. [ [http://www.telegraphindia.com/1071229/jsp/frontpage/story_8722192.jsp The Telegraph - Calcutta (Kolkata) | Frontpage | India waits, steps up Pak vigil ] ]
In the early hours of
February 19, 2007sixty-eight people (amongst them Pakistani civilians and Indian military guarding the train) were killed and scores more injured in a suspected terrorist attack on this "Peace Train". [http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/181_1931712,0008.htm] [ [http://www.zeenews.com/znnew/articles.asp?aid=355083&sid=NAT Zee News - Passengers recount horror on blast-hit train ] ] The attack occurred at Diwana station near the Indian city of Panipat. Officials found evidence of improvised explosive devices ( IEDs) and flammable material, including three un-detonated IEDs.
External Links and References
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