Thar Express

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Karachi Cantonment Railway Station, the starting point of the railway.[1]

Thar Express (Hindi: थार एक्सप्रेस, Urdu: تهر ایکسپریس‎) is an international train that connects Karachi, Pakistan to Jodhpur, India. Six kilometres apart, Munabao and Zero Point near Khokhrapar are the two last railway stations of the India-Pakistan border. Hyderabad (Pakistan). Mirpur Khas, Barmer and Balotra are some of the other stations. Bhagat ki Kothi is a railway station 5 km from Jodhpur Railway Station.

Prior to 1965 the last Pakistani station was Khokhrapar, about 10 km from the border. When the new service was started in 2006 Pakistan constructed a new station called Zero Point a few hundred metres from the border. That is where the immigration and customs checks are carried out now. Apparently this train does not stop at Khokhrapar now.

From India, the train departs from Bhagat Ki Kothi in Jodhpur every Saturday 1:00 and arrives at Munabao (India side) at 7:00 in morning. After customs and visa checks, it leaves Zero Point (Pakistan) at 14:30 and reaches Karachi Cantonment at 2:15 Sunday Morning.

From Pakistan, the train departs Karachi Cantonment every Friday at 23:00 and arrives Zero Point at Khokhrapar in Pakistan at 8:00 on Saturday morning. After custom and visa check, the train arrives at Munabao (Indian side) around 11:00. The Indian train departs Munabao at 19:00 and arrives at Bhagat ki Kothi in Jodhpur at 23:50 Saturday.[2]

History[edit]

Before the independence of Pakistan in 1947, the Sind Mail used to travel to Ahmedabad via the Hyderabad - Mirpur Khas - Khokhrapar - Munabao - Barmer - Luni - Jodhpur - Pali - Marwar - Palanpur - Ahmedabad route.[3]

The link was destroyed during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 (but partly rebuilt when Indian troops captured Khokhrapar in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971). On 18 February 2006, it was revived after a period of 41 years. In the mean time the lines on both sides had been converted from metre gauge to broad gauge. This enabled the train to run from the border right up to Karachi, which was not possible earlier because there would be a change of gauge in between, either at Hyderabad or Mirpur Khas. The Thar Express is the oldest route, however, because it was damaged in the war it remained closed for 41 years. Upon restoration it became the new train service between the two countries.

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