Indian Railways: Delhi-Kashmir, Katra-Banihal train route to open soon, project nears completion

Indian Railways to soon start train services from Delhi-Kashmir and Katra-Banihal as project nears completion, reports ANI. 

Indian Railways: Delhi-Kashmir, Katra-Banihal train route to open soon, project nears completion Image for representation

Good news rail travellers! If you are planning a trip to Jammu and Kashmir anytime soon then this is the news for you. The Indian Railways will soon open the Delhi-Kashmir rail route for the public as the project nears completion. Meanwhile, the railway bridge on the Chenab river in Reasi district on the Baramulla railway line is nearing completion too. The railway track from Katra to Banihal is 111 km, most of which has been completed and the rest is in full swing, a 12.6 km long T-49B tunnel has also been constructed on it. 

A total of 37 bridges are to be constructed in the Banihal track, including 26 major bridges and 11 minor bridges; there are also 35 tunnels in Srinagar. The Jammu railway line, which is expected to be completed by 2023, has a 93-km stretch of tunnels across the Himalayas. Out of 110 km from Udhampur to Banihal, 93 km of the track consists of tunnels and a lighting system will also be installed in these tunnels to control the trains. 

The stations to be built near these series of tunnels include Reasi, Salal A, Salal B, Daga, Bhasin Didhar, Singaldan, and Sambar. The 111 km railways line from Katra to Banihal is in progress on the difficult kilometer stretch, which spans the Himalayan mountain range. 97 km of this section will consist of tunnels. The rail line has been laid on three sections of 25 km from Udhampur to Katra, 18 km from Banihal to Qazigund and 118 km from Qazigund to Baramulla and trains also run on them. 

Also, the world's largest railway bridge on the Chenab river in district Reasi on the Baramulla railway line is in the final stages of completion. After the completion of the steel arch of the bridge, the arch above the deck will also be completed this month. The completion will add a new chapter to the history of Jammu and Kashmir. India will achieve a milestone by constructing the highest railway bridge in the world. 

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The overarch deck will be completed with golden joints later this month. This bridge is located on the upper side of Salal Bandh near Kavari village in the Reasi district. The bridge is the tallest railway bridge in the world and is being constructed by the Northern Railway at an estimated cost of Rs 28,000 crore as part of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link Project. 

This railway bridge will be 35 meters higher than the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. Named ‘Chenab Bridge,’ this railway bridge will be 359 meters higher than the water level of the Chenab river and its length will be 1315 meters. The highest railway bridge at the time was located on the Beipanjiang River in Guizhou Province, China, with a height of 275 meters above the water level. 

It is a major achievement towards the completion of the 111 km long Katra-Banihal railway section, for which massive Himalayan Hills are being mined.The installation of the arch before the construction of the deck was one of the biggest civil engineering challenges in the recent history of India, with a 5.6-meter span at the top of the bridge being connected at the centre on both sides. Out of the 111 km. 

There is 97 km of tunnelling which is more than 85 percent. Tunnelling on this scale has not been done in any other part of the country. About 86 km of tunnelling work has been completed so far. Built on Darya Chenab, the arch of this bridge is capable of withstanding winds of 266 kilometres per hour. 

The length of the bridge is 1315 meters. The number of pillars is 17. 28,660 metric tons of steel were used in its construction, at an estimated cost of Rs 1,486 crore. The weight of the installed arch is 10,619 metric tons. The steel used in the structure is suitable for temperatures ranging from minus 10 degrees Celsius to minus 40 degrees Celsius. 

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The bridge will have a minimum lifespan of 120 years and will be built for trains at a speed of 100 km. This bridge has the ability to withstand winds of 266 kilometers per hour and withstand blast load and withstand severe earthquakes.The bridge has 93 deck segments, each weighing about 85T, launched simultaneously on reinforced steel arches from both ends, and work is underway on five. 

The two ends will eventually be joined with `High Strength Friction Grip` (HSFG) bolts to complete the upper deck of the bridge. The bridge has been constructed by Afcons, a Mumbai-based company. Gary Dhar Raja Gopalan, Deputy Managing Director of African Company said, "The completion of the 359-meter high arch deck above Chenab river will be an extraordinary achievement. I pay tribute to every engineer and worker who has contributed to this unprecedented engineering achievement. This golden joint will be written in golden letters in the history of Indian Railways. All the structural engineering work has been done by Indian engineers making the Chenab Railway Bridge a symbol of ‘self-sufficient India.’

Appreciating the role of Northern Railway and Konkan Railway Corporation in finalizing the design of the Chenab Bridge, Giri Dhari further said, "We were assisted in technical issues, approval of drawings, etc. by Northern Railway and Konkan Railway Corporation (KRCL) which created local employment." 

It should be noted that a train ran for the first time in Kashmir in 2008 after one and a half hundred years of the introduction of the railway system in the subcontinent, which was inaugurated by the then Prime Minister Dr. Vali inaugurated this first train service on October 11 by hoisting the green flag. The Banhal to Baramulla beach train is currently running. 

The 135 km railway line has 17 stations including Banhal, Halar Shahabad, Qazigund, Sidhura, Anantnag, Bijbahara, Panzgam, Awantipora, Kakapura, Pampore, Srinagar, Budgam, Mazhama, Patan, Humire, Sopore and Baramulla. This rail project under construction at a cost of Rs 27,949 crore covers four sections, Udhampur - Katra, Katra - Banihal, Banihal - Qazigund and Qazigund - Baramulla. 

(With inputs from ANI)