To increase pan-India connectivity, Indian Railways are working at a rapid speed to provide comfort and convenience to their passengers. That said, work on the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link (USBRL) project that will connect the Kashmir Valley to the rest of the country is advancing at a rapid pace. Of the 272 km in length of the USBRL project, 161 km have already been commissioned and operationalized. Under the mega project, the platforms and tracks will be built higher than Qutub Minar and running trains at such a height is nothing short of a miracle.
About the project
The Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Railway Link (USBRL) project will connect the Kashmir Valley to the rest of the country. Works for Reasi Railway Station in the Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir, part of the Jammu-Baramulla line, are in the final stages where concrete slabs have been laid at bridge number 39 built over a gorge 105 feet.
Of all the pillars installed for the bridge, the height of the middle one is higher than that of Qutub Minar. The height of the pylon above the foundation is 193 meters. The bridge is 331 meters above sea level and earthquake resistant. Northern Railway chief executive Ashutosh Gangal said work on the remaining 111 km, out of a total of 272 km, is continuing at a rapid pace. Of the 111 km section, 58 km will pass through a tunnel.
The bridge will be supported by 96 cables whose length will vary from 82 meters to 295 meters so that there will be no problem when the train is traveling at high speed in the Himalayan region.
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In February, the Northern Railway managed to complete the longest railway tunnel in the Katra-Banihal section. The T49 is a tunnel with a length of 12.758 km and it will be the longest tunnel in the Indian Railway surpassing the 11.2 km long Peer Panjal tunnel constructed by USBRL on the Banihal-Qazigund section.
The T-49 tunnel has two tubes – one is the main tunnel and the other is an escape tunnel. The tunnel was built by NATM (New Austrian Tunneling Method), which is a modern technique of drilling and blasting method. The sectional profile of the tunnel is modified into a horseshoe shape.
With the line and level breakthrough in the 12.758 km long T 49 tunnel, work will speed up to connect the Kashmir Valley with other parts of the country via railways. According to the railways, the train will travel at a speed of 100 km/h on this section. Track laying work is in progress.
At present, the pylon work has been completed and the construction of the bridge is in progress. This deck will consist of composite steel slabs 15 meters wide and ten meters deep. The first phase includes the pouring of a 196.25 meter long deck with a continuous pour of 370 metric tons of reinforced steel and 900 cusecs of concrete.
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The railways have set a deadline for its completion in April 2023. With the completion of this project, direct rail services will start from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. According to the railways, this project is also important from a strategic point of view. It was declared a national project in 2022.
(With contributions from IANS)