THE CHAIRMAN of Pakistan’s Railway Board Kurshid Ahmad Khan joined ceremonies at Lahore station on January 15 to dispatch the first cross-border train to India for more than two years. The Samjhauta Express between Lahore and Delhi had been discontinued in 2001.

A three-year agreement to restore freight and passenger services was signed by representatives from the two railways at a two-day conference in Delhi on December 18-19. The passenger service will initially operate twice a week between Lahore and Attari, from where Indian Railways will provide connecting services to Amritsar, Delhi, Kanpur, Lucknow, Aligarh, Ilahabad, Saharanpur and Muradabad. Under the agreement, PR will be allowed to open its own ticket offices in the eight cities.

PR General Manager Mohammad Iqbal Khatri expected cross-border freight services to resume a few days later.