JODHPUR: The railways on Friday cancelled operations of Thar Link Express that connects Jodhpur in India to Karachi in Pakistan, officials said, a development that temporarily snaps all rail links between the two countries, as the services of Samjhauta Express have already been suspended.
A railway spokesperson said in Jodhpur that the Thar Link Express would not undertake its journey scheduled for early Saturday (1 am) and the administration has initiated the process of cancellation of all the 45 tickets which have been issued so far.
“The Thar Express has been suspended till further orders. The directions were issued by the railway ministry to the North Western Railway on Friday,” said Gopal Sharma, the spokesperson for Jodhpur Division-NWR.
The weekly train departs from Jodhpur’s Bhagat Ki Kothi railway station on Saturdays and reach Munabao, the last station on the Indian side of the border, early morning. At the zero point on the international border with Pakistan, passengers change trains. And a train from Pakistan then takes them to Karachi.
“Till now, 45 tickets have been issued. But with this order in effect now, we are cancelling the tickets,” said Mr Sharma.
The Thar Express has been running between Jodhpur and Karachi since services resumed on February 18, 2006 after a 41-year suspension. The train service was not suspended even after the deadly terrorist attack in Pulwama on February 14 which sent the tension between the two countries soaring.
According to estimates, over four lakh passengers have taken the train in the past 13 years.
Last Saturday, the train had departed from Bhagat Ki Kothi station with 165 passengers. The train from Pakistan was also received successfully by India with as many passengers.
Pakistan had last week announced suspension of all train services to India after the Centre scrapped provisions of Article 370 and divided Jammu and Kashmir into two Union territories. Pakistan also stopped the Lahore-Wagah Samjhauta Express services — the main rail link between the two hostile neighbours. Following the move, the Indian Railways announced on Sunday that it has cancelled the New Delhi-Attari Samjhauta Express on its side.