More than 100 years after Kashmir was promised a rail link, the dream was finally fulfilled on Saturday with the opening of the first train connecting Srinagar to Rajwanshar in south Kashmir's Anantnag district. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh flagged off the first train on 11th Oct'08. Kashmir was promised a rail link by Maharaja Pratap Singh, the region's Dogra ruler in 1892. The British took up that promise but never delivered and then independent India's governments have struggled to make it happen. Strife, terrorism and the challenge of boring through weak mountain & bridging huge crevasses stalled the project several times.
Although the track on which the inaugural run was made was only 66 Km's and the had just 8 coaches, the significance ad symbolism of the flag off goes much farther. The train will not only shrink distances in the valley and eventually connect it to Jammu, it will also give Kashmiris an emblem of pride as well. The rail link is sure to diminish the shril cries of azadi and the acute feelings of central neglect.