The new train is scheduled to start service from mid-January
The quiet platform at Munnabao railway station, in the western Indian state of Rajasthan, comes alive as the day's only train arrives.
It is 10 in the morning and the desert heat, in the winter month of December, is mellow.
Dozens of passengers descend onto the platform, loud chatter fills every empty space.
A signboard, put up here by the Indian Border Roads Organisation, informs that this is the last station on the Indian side.
The station is now being renovated and expanded for the proposed rail link between Munnabao and Khokrapar in Pakistan.
It was earlier announced that the train would be flagged off on 1 January, but Indian railway officials say it has been delayed and is now likely to start in the second half of January.
Meanwhile, work is in fully swing at Munnabao station - a young man clears a pile of cement while another feeds a stone crusher.
They are among several dozen workers who are constructing a new wing of the station building.
The project is generating considerable interest among the residents of nearby villages.
Munnabao station is being renovated for the rail link
Durga Ram Chaudhari - a schoolteacher - has come from his village 80km (50 miles) away just to have a look.
"I have been reading in the papers that a new platform is being built here. The reports said they are building a station of international standards."
Mr Chaudhari looks appreciatively at the gleaming new platform that is being built across from where his train has stopped.
The contractor in-charge of building the platform is Jagdish Chaudhari.
He says the platform is almost ready and will be functional in a week.
"This is where the passengers will go for immigration," he points at new portable cabins.
"After that they will walk through that door in the middle and come out into the Customs hall. In the departure lounge there will be some stalls which will sell tea, snacks, books etc."
Suresh Kumar Mena, an engineer with the railways, says there has been a trial run. "We have tested the systems and I am happy with the results."
The border is two kilometres from Munnabao station.
Trains will be escorted by soldiers when they come to Munnabao
About 150 metres into the Indian side, a three-metre-high fence of barbed wire clearly marks out the territory.
In the middle of the fence is an imposing black iron gate, secured with a huge padlock.
Keeping an eye on the fence are soldiers of the Border Security Force.
At least a dozen tractors are levelling the ground. An official of the force tells me they are building roads on both sides of the track.
"Once the train enters Indian territory, it will be escorted to Munnabao by our soldiers," he says.
The last train to travel in this sector was 40 years ago, just as hostilities were breaking out between India and Pakistan over Kashmir.
Devi Singh Sodha, who is now 72, used to be a part of the team that ran the last train to Khokrapar.
"Before 1965, India and Pakistan would take turns to send their trains across the border. The last train that went to Khokrapar on 3 September 1965 was ours. Our driver was Hanuman Singh and the guard was Jagdar Singh.
Local people are hoping the rail link will generate jobs
"At the station they heard an order to detain the train, but they acted quickly and managed to get the train back into India. They had a narrow escape."
Mr Sodha laughs heartily when I tell him that it sounds straight out a Hindi movie plot.
But today, relations between India and Pakistan are improving and Mr Sodha says restoring the train will benefit the poor.
His enthusiasm is shared by most people.
Almost all the 1,500 residents of Akli - the only settlement between Munnabao and the border - believe the link will bring them financial rewards.
In this remote desert, where few employment opportunities exist and where the land yields little, many are hoping the train will generate some work.
Says resident Tikma Ram: "Ever since work began on the railway track, dozens of people have managed to find work. Once the rail service begins, there will be need for porters too. Some of us may also be able to set up shops at the station. Hopefully our village will see some progress."
His neighbour, Maulakh Ram, points at the border fence, "If I stand up on that hillock I can see Pakistan on the other side. I can see people grazing their cattle and working in the fields. Just like us."
It is this feeling of kinship that is articulated everywhere you go in this region.
Some fear easing travel restrictions will encourage militants
Kushal Singh Sodha is from the village of Gadas.
"I was born in Sindh in Pakistan. We lived near Khokrapar, but came to India after the 1971 war. I would like to go back to meet all the people I left behind."
The last big town on the border is Gadra Road and it is abuzz.
Ramesh Maheshwari is a local businessman.
"Once the line is up and running, perhaps in time we can also have trading links," he says.
Some say easing travel restrictions may make it easier for militants to cross the border into India.
But residents of border villages scoff at the suggestion. Unlike the more volatile Line of Control that divides Kashmir, the border here is quiet and peaceful.
"This is a peaceful place. A militant will not be able to survive here. Moreover, militants do not travel by trains and planes. This will never happen here," says Mr Sodha.