India to operate Thar Express for 6 months

New Delhi, Aug 18: The Thar Express train linking Khokhrapar in Sindh (Pakistan) to Munabao in Rajasthan (India) will be operated by the Indian Railways for six months from Saturday, an official was quoted as having said today.
Since the train service started in February, the Pakistan Railways had been operating the train up to the Munabao station in Barmer district in line with the memorandum of understanding signed between authorities of the two countries.
The term of this MoU valid for six months ended on August 12, said a news report here.
The Indian Railways will now run the train with seven coaches from Jodhpur to Khokhrapar via Munabao.
There are 400 seats available for passengers and about 200 are booked, the railway official said.
Meanwhile, the North-Western Railway authorities said that the new timetable was approved by both the Indian and Pakistan rail authorities.
The train will leave Jodhpur at 2330 IST today and reach Munabao at 0700 IST tomorrow. The train will reach Khokrapar Zero Line at 1100 IST and enters into Pakistan territory, added the report.
Earlier, the Indian train went till Munabao and the passengers then will board the Pakistani train for their onward journey. Similarly, passengers from the Pakistani side will board the Indian train to proceed to their destinations in India.
The ‘Journey of Friendship’ between India and Pakistan was started in Feburary last and was flagged off by Union Railway Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav.
So far, 26,000 passengers have travelled in this train and allowed Indian Railway to post revenue of Rs 3.6 million till July, sources added. Railway officials ruled out any possibility of increase in fares and freights of the train.