Indian Railways Achieves Milestone with Trial Run on World's Highest Railway Bridge

Indian Railways Achieves Milestone with Trial Run on World's Highest Railway Bridge

Srinagar - On Thursday, Indian Railways achieved a historic milestone with the successful trial run of an eight-coach Mainline Electric Multiple Unit (MEMU) train on the Chenab Bridge, the world's highest railway bridge, in Jammu and Kashmir. This significant step paves the way for commencing rail operations on the Reasi-Baramulla route in Kashmir.

The Chenab River Bridge, standing at an impressive height of 359 metres above the riverbed, surpasses the Eiffel Tower by 35 metres!

The Ministry of Railways announced that the trial run, following an extensive inspection by senior officials from the Railway Board, Northern Railway, and Konkan Railway, was conducted on a 46-km-long electrified section between Sangaldan in Ramban district and Reasi at a speed of 40 kmph. The trial, which began at 12:35 pm from Sangaldan and concluded at 2:05 pm in Reasi, traversed nine tunnels totaling 40.787 km, including the longest tunnel T-44, which stretches 11.13 km.

This event marks the first full train crossing on the iconic Chenab Bridge, situated between Dugga and Bakkal stations. The bridge, known as the highest arch railway bridge globally, is a key structure in this section. Key stations along the route include Reasi, Bakkal, Dugga, and Sawlakote, all located in the Reasi district of Jammu & Kashmir.

The electrification of this section utilized cutting-edge technology, including the Rigid Overhead Conductor System (ROCS) at 25 kV, a first for Indian Railways.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link (USBRL) project's 48.1-km Banihal-Sangaldan section on February 20, 2024. The project has seen multiple phases: the 118 km Qazigund-Baramulla section commenced in October 2009 under the UPA government, the 18 km Banihal-Qazigund section opened in June 2013, and the 25 km Udhampur-Katra section was completed in July 2014.

In February 2024, the first electric train trial run on the Banihal-Katra section covered approximately 40 km, including several tunnels, from Banihal to Khari to Sangaldan.

Once fully operational, the Chenab Bridge will facilitate comprehensive train services, integrating the Kashmir valley with Jammu and the broader Indian network. This connectivity aims to promote social integration, enhance the movement of people and goods, foster cultural exchanges, and boost regional development, including tourism and trade.

The USBRL project, declared a ‘National Project’ in 2002, includes 272 km of railway line from Udhampur to Baramulla, connecting the Kashmir valley to the national rail network. It features 38 tunnels totaling 119 km, with Tunnel T-49 being the longest at 12.75 km. The project also comprises 927 bridges spanning 13 km, highlighted by the Chenab Bridge, which has an overall length of 1315 m, an arch span of 467 m, and rises 359 m above the riverbed—surpassing the height of the Eiffel Tower and earning its title as the world's highest arch railway bridge.

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