JAMMU: The Indian Railways has undertaken a mega project of construction of a new Railway line in J&K state from Udhampur to Baramulla, which has been declared a national project. The alignment is a culmination of large number of Tunnels and Bridges, which are to be implemented in highly rugged and mountainous terrain with most difficult Himalayan Geology.
The alignment crosses deep gorges of Chenab River near Salal Hydro Power Dam, which necessitates construction of long span bridges. The configurations of steel arches have been selected on account of aesthetics, economy, and availability of local expertise and construction materials.
The Chenab Bridge, 359 m above river bed, will be the highest bridge in the world, and longest span for BG Rail line with arch span of 467 m. Indian Railways has completed over 70 per cent of work on the 359 meters world’s highest railway bridge over River Chenab in Kauri area of Reasi district.
The project has been declared as a Project of National Importance. Jammu- Udhampur- Katra- Quazigund- Baramulla Railway line is the biggest project in the construction of a mountain railway since independence. From Jammu to Baramulla, length of the new rail line is 326 Km. It passes through the young Himalayas, tectonics thrust and faults. The work is in various stages of progress in the balance length from Katra to Banihal (111 Km). The railway authorities are looking forward to provide direct connectivity to the Kashmir Valley, latest by 2020 after completing railway bridge by June 2019.
With this it would be easier for the Indian army to rush its supplies and men via rail route to the Valley besides promoting tourism in the region.
To achieve timely completion of the Chenab Railway Bridge, top officials of the Railway Ministry on Sunday launched the construction work of the main arch of the iconic bridge. This is the most crucial leg of the construction. It is for the first time in India that concrete filled steel arch is being used in the main arch bridge, spanning at a height of 359 meters above river bed.
The launch of the main arch commenced after traditional prayers were offered by M. K Gupta, Member Engineering, Railway Board and AK Sachan, Chief Administrative officer, Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link (USBRL) project at the Chenab construction site.
With this the railway engineers would begin the job of carrying heavy segments from the two ends of the bridge viz. Kauri end and Bakkal end and includes categorically the world’s longest cable crane arrangement.
Senior officers of KRCL and Northern Railway along with construction partners were present on this historic occasion.
It may be mentioned that the Chenab Bridge on Katra- Banihal section of USBRL project is the world’s highest Railway Arch bridge at 359 meters height.
World renowned national & international consultants have been engaged during various stages of project.
Detailed geo-physical studies, seismic studies, slope stability studies have been included.
According to Chief Public Relations Officer of Indian Railways, “Chenab Bridge has been designed for blast load in consultation with DRDO”.
He said, the erection of the bridge is a project in itself.
To achieve this, pylons were erected on either side of the river, and two auxiliary self-propelled cable cranes were used to tow temporary auxiliary ropes across these pylons.
The ropes were used to support the partly finished arch parts.
The launching is typically performed in a series of increments so that additional sections can be added to the rear of the superstructure unit prior to subsequent launches.
The bridge is envisaged to create its own benchmarks in construction engineering and unparalleled records.
Three massive workshops for undertaking fabrication of steel structure has been commissioned at Srinagar end of bridge and one at Katra end of the bridge. For launching purpose, arrangements in the form of pylons with cable cranes spanning the entire gorge have been completed successfully. The cable crane assembly, including pylons at span of 915 meters is the longest in the world . For the first time on Indian Railways viaduct was launched on curve of 2.74 degree.
- The work on Jammu-Udhampur section (55 Km) has been completed and opened to public by Hon’ble Prime Minister in Apr’05.
- The work on Quazigund – Baramulla section (118 Km) has also been completed and section has been opened to public in three phases. The section from Anantnag to Mazhom (68 KM) was opened to the public by the Hon’ble Prime Minister on 11/10/08. The section from Mazhom to Baramulla (32 KM) was inaugurated and dedicated to the nation on 14.02.09.The section from Quazigund to Anantnag (18 km) was opened to the public by the Hon’ble Prime Minister on 28/10/09.
- The section from Quazigund to Banihal (18 Km) involving Pir Panjal Tunnel, the longest transportation tunnel in India of total 11.215 Km length has also been opened to the Public by the Hon’ble Prime Minister on 26.06.2013. The block section from Quazigund to Banihal is a part of Katra-Quazigund section of the project, wherein the alignment passes through the world’s most difficult terrain, both in terms of logistic and geological strata.
- Udhampur – Katra which is 25 Km long has been opened to traffic by Hon’ble Prime Minister on 4th July 2014.