Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday flagged off the Delhi-Katra Vande Bharat Express from the New Delhi Railway Station and said it was a "big gift" for Jammu and Kashmir's development.
Shah also said that Article 370 was the "biggest roadblock" in the state's development and within 10 years, it will be one of the most developed regions of the country.
"Delhi-Katra Vande Bharat Express is a big gift for Jammu and Kashmir's development and for promoting religious tourism," said Shah, who was accompanied by Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, Union Ministers Dr Jitendra Singh and Dr Harsh Vardhan.
Train number 22439 New Delhi-Katra Vande Bharat Express will depart from the New Delhi Railway Station at 6 am to reach Katra, which is about 42 Km away from the city of Jammu, at 2 pm. En route, the train will halt at Ambala Cantt, Ludhiana and Jammu Tawi for two minutes each.
On the return journey the same day, train number 22440 Katra-New Delhi Vande Bharat Express will leave from the Katra Railway Station at 3 pm to reach the New Delhi Railway Station at 11 pm.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the launch of the train as a "Navratri Gift" which will boost "spiritual Tourism" in the state.
"A Navratri gift for my sisters and brothers of Jammu as well as devotees of Maa Vaishno Devi! The New Vande Bharat Express from New Delhi to Maa Vaishno Devi, Katra will improve connectivity as well as spiritual tourism," the prime minister tweeted.
Also called Train 18, it will ply on all days of the week except for Tuesday.
"Railways will connect the country from Kashmir to Kanyakumari before 15th August 2022," said Railway Minister Piyush Goyal.
Shah also said that "railways should document its relationship with Mahatma Gandhi as it forms a significant episode in the freedom struggle."
This is the second Vande Bharat Express, the first runs between Delhi and Varanasi.