New Delhi: The Jammu-Udhampur-Katra-Quazigund-Baramulla Railway line is the biggest project in the construction of a mountain railway since independence, according to the Northern Railway Construction Organization website. From Jammu to Baramulla, the length of the new rail line is 345 km. It passes through the young Himalayas, tectonic thrusts and faults. The work on Jammu-Udhampur section (53 Km) has been completed and opened to the public in April 2005.
The work is in various stages of progress in the balance length from Udhampur to Quazigund. Note that this project is, perhaps, the most difficult new railway line project undertaken on the Indian subcontinent. The terrain passes through the young Himalayas, which are full of geological surprises and numerous problems. For execution purpose, the project has been divided into 3 sub-sections.
Ministry of Railways recently tweeted about the project saying, "The complex and ambitious project of Indian Railways is Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla (USBRL), which is exemplifying the amazing engineering by the engineers of Indian Railways. This project will increase employment in the inaccessible region of Jammu and Kashmir and will give new impetus to development there."
भारतीय रेल की जटिल एवं महात्वाकांक्षी परियोजना उधमपुर- श्रीनगर- बारामुला (USBRL) है जो भारतीय रेल के इंजीनियरों के द्वारा अद्भुत इंजीनियरिंग की मिसाल पेश कर रही है । इस परियोजना से जम्मू और कश्मीर के दुर्गम क्षेत्र में रोजगार बढ़ेगा और वहां पर विकास को नई गति मिलेगी । pic.twitter.com/2VV1TJNybP— Ministry of Railways (@RailMinIndia) October 15, 2019
Here's all you need to know about the ambitious project:
1. Construction activities are in progress on Udhamur-Katra, Katra-Quazigund and Quazigund-Srinagar-Baramulla section of the project.
2. Katra-Qazigund leg is the most difficult stretch of this project. The alignment of this stretch which is 129 Km-long, passes through Patni and Pir Panjal ranges.
3. This alignment requires the construction of 62 major bridges/minor bridges. The alignment also requires, inter alia, construction of 35 tunnels, totalling to a length of 103 km bringing the percentage of the total length of the alignment on tunnels to about 80%.
4. For the ease of execution, the work has been sub-divided into the following three legs --Leg 1 Udhampur-Katra (25 Km), Leg 2 Katra-Qazigund (129KM) and Leg 3 Qazigund –Baramulla (Km 119).
5. Udhampur-Katra: Udhampur-Katra section is 25 km long and involves about 11 km of tunnelling, 9 major bridges, 29 minor bridges and 10 ROB/RUBs in addition to about 38.86 lac cum of earthwork. The projected cost of this stretch is Rs 928 crore. The tallest bridge in this section is 85 m-high and the longest tunnel is 3.15 km long. All the tunnelling, as well as bridge works, have been completed.
6. Katra-Qazigund: This leg is the toughest section, full of tunnels and bridges/viaducts, that has been constructed on the Indian Railways. The terrain in this region is full of poor geology and faults. Tunnelling and bridging is a challenge greater than that was met on Jammu-Udhampur or Udhampur-Katra section and will be a matter of pride for the engineers of Indian Railways.
7. The stretch between river Chenab and Banihal is passing through a virgin territory and requires the construction of about 262 km of access roads. About 160 km of access roads have already been constructed. At Qazigund end of this stretch, the longest tunnel on Indian Railways is being constructed (T-80, Pir Panjal Tunnel). This tunnel is 10.96 km long and will pierce through the Pir Panjal range below the snow line.
8. The work on the Katra-Qazigund section was started in November 2002 and the present progress is about 13 per cent. The engineers working on this section are facing multifarious problems due to extremely difficult and inaccessible terrain, technical problems and adverse security concerns of extremist activities in the state.
9. Qazigund-Baramulla: This section falls in the Kashmir Valley, which is a natural bowl, surrounded by the mountain ranges. Though there is no tunnel, heavy bridging is required across rivers, canals and roads. The section from Anantnag to Rajwansher (66 KM) was opened to the public on October 10, 2008. While the section from Rajwansher to Baramulla (35 KM) was inaugurated and dedicated to the nation on February 14, 2009. The section from Quazigund to Anantnag (18 km) was opened on October 28 in the same year.
10: Total about 262 km of approach roads to work sites are to be constructed. Out of which, 160 km already constructed. With the completion of approach roads, more than 73 villages will get connected, which will provide road connectivity to about 1,47,000 people, 29 villages are already connected.
Worth mentioning here is that direct employment to the local people (about 7,000) and indirect employment to thousands for day to day requirement of the project personnel. This will also help to mitigate militancy.