J&K: Railway trial run successful on world’s highest rail bridge

Jammu, 20 June , 2024  : Indian Railways rolled wheels on the World’s Highest Arch Rail bridge
With aim to provide an alternative and a reliable transportation system to Jammu & Kashmir, Govt. of India has successfully laid a 272 Km. long Railway Line from Udhampur to Baramulla joining the Kashmir valley with the Indian Railways network under Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail link Project (USBRL). This project has been the most challenging works undertaken post-independence by Indian Railways. In view of importance of USBRL project in providing seamless and hassle-free connectivity, the Project was declared as “National Project” in 2002.
The USBRL Project involves 38 Tunnels (combined length of 119Km), the longest Tunnel (T-49) is having a length of 12.75 Km and is country’s longest transportation tunnel. There are 927 nos. of Bridges (combined length of 13 Km). These bridges include the iconic Chenab Bridge (Overall length 1315 m, Arch span of 467 m and height of 359 m above river bed) which is around 35 metres taller than the Eiffel Tower and is pegged to be the World’s highest arch railway bridge.

After an extensive inspection of the newly constructed Chenab Bridge by the Senior Officers from Railway Board, Northern Railway and Konkan Railway, today (on 20.06.2024) Indian Railway has successfully conducted a trial run of a MEMU train (8 coaches) on newly constructed Electrified line section (route length 46 kms) between Sangaldan in Ramban district and Reasi at an speed of 40 kmph.
It was successfully carried out starting at 12:35 Hrs from Sangaldan and reaching Reasi at 14:05 Hrs. On the way it passes through 9 numbers of tunnels with a combined length of 40.787 Km and longest tunnel T-44 of 11.13 Km. The first ever full train crossed over the iconic bridge between Dugga and Bakkal stations across the Chenab River, which is the world’s highest arch railway bridge. The stations Reasi, Bakkal, Dugga and Sawlakoteare  situated in Reasi District of J&K. The Railway Electrification work on this section has been executed with state-of-the-art technology, ROCS (Rigid Overhead Conductor System) at 25 kV, for the first time on Indian Railways.
The USBRL project, including the 48.1 km long Banihal-Sangaldan section, was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 20, 2024. Phase I of the project, covering the 118 km long Qazigund-Baramulla section, was inaugurated in October 2009. Subsequent phases saw the inauguration of the 18 km long Banihal-Qazigund section in June 2013 and the 25 km long Udhampur-Katra section in July 2014.

In February 2024, the first Electric Train trial run from Banihal to Khari to Sangaldan section on the Banihal-Katra section of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link (USBRL) project in Ramban was successfully conducted on around 40 km of track and tunnels between Banihal and Sangaldan Railway Stations in Ramban district.
After conduction of a series of such tests, this bridge would be open to run all train services which will be a monumental stride towards the seamless integration of the Kashmir valley with Jammu and the broader Indian landscape. This would foster social integration by facilitating easier movement of people and goods, thereby promoting cultural exchanges & regional development and boost to economic activities such as tourism and trade.

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