Press Trust of India

Railways conducts trial run on world’s highest arch rail bridge in JK

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New Delhi: Indian Railways on Thursday successfully conducted a trial run of a eight-coach MEMU train on the world’s highest railway bridge — Chenab Bridge — in Jammu and Kashmir, paving the way for the start of rail service on the route from Reasi to Baramulla in Kashmir.

“After an extensive inspection of the newly constructed Chenab Bridge by senior officers from Railway Board, Northern Railway and Konkan Railway, a trial run was conducted on a 46-km-long electrified line section between Sangaldan in Ramban district and Reasi at a speed of 40 kmph,” the Railway Ministry said in a statement.

“It was successfully carried out starting at 12:35 pm from Sangaldan and reaching Reasi at 2:05 pm. On the way it passes through nine tunnels with a combined length of 40.787 km and longest tunnel T-44 of 11.13 km,” it added.

According to the ministry, it was the first ever full train that 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 Sawlakote — are situated in Reasi district of J&K.

“The 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 railways,” the ministry said.

The Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link (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 under the Congress-led UPA govt.

Subsequent phases saw the inauguration of the 18 km long Banihal-Qazigund section in June 2013 and the 25 km 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 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,” the ministry said.

It added, “This would foster social integration by facilitating easier movement of people and goods, thereby promoting cultural exchanges and regional development and boost to economic activities such as tourism and trade.”

With aim to provide an alternative and a reliable transportation system to Jammu and Kashmir, the Indian Railways has successfully laid a 272-km-long railway line from Udhampur to Baramulla joining the Kashmir valley with the rail network under the USBRL project.

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 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.


Press Trust of India

Press Trust of India is lead news agency of India

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