If you love train journeys, and if the Andaman and Nicobar Islands have always been on your bucket list, a perfect travel option might be just around the corner. The Railway Ministry is all set to approve the construction of a 240 km broad-gauge railway line connecting Diglipur in North Andaman Island with the Union Territory’s capital city, Port Blair.
Currently, Diglipur is connected to Port Blair via a 350-km bus service, which takes 14 hours to complete, and a ship that takes 24 hours.
Picture for representation only. Source: Flickr
The broad gauge line will take about three hours, making it a lot easier for tourists and the local population. Additionally, the line will also be useful for defence forces because Diglipur is located just 300 km by sea from the southern coast of Myanmar.
According to The Indian Express, the ministry plans to approve the project because “it is unique, away from the mainland, and has tourism potential.” The cost of construction will be Rs. 2,413.68 crore.
The Andaman and Nicobar islands have also agreed to share 50% of the operational cost, or losses, because a railway survey suggests that line will see a negative rate of return on investment. In spite of the potential losses, the ministry is set to approve the project because of its strategic importance.
Jagdish Mukhi, Lieutenant Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, told The Indian Express that tourism in the islands will increase from 4.5 lakh visitors annually, to an estimated 6 lakh tourists.
Talking about Ross and Smith islands that are important tourist attractions in Diglipur, he said, “These are just two of the main attractions. Lakhs of tourists take great pains to reach there from Port Blair every year. With the railway line in place, that part essentially become a part of the capital, beneficial to tourists, local residents and the defence forces.”