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In a historic feat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off the newly electric train on the Baramulla-Sringar-Banihal-Sangaldan rail link (185.66 Km). The Mainline Electric Multiple Unit (MEMU) train will serve the people between Sangaldan station and Baramulla station in the Kashmir valley.

Mega rail projects

The Prime Minister also dedicated the new rail line between Banihal-Khari-Sumber-Sangaldan (48 Km). The commissioning of the Banihal-Khari-Sumber-Sangaldan section is significant as it features the usage of Ballast Less Track (BLT) all along the route providing a better riding experience to the passengers.

It is a type of railway track infrastructure in which the traditional elastic combination of ties/sleepers and ballast is replaced by a rigid construction of concrete or asphalt. In comparison, BLT have highly consistent track geometry, a longer life span, and a reduced need for maintenance.

Besides, India’s longest transportation tunnel T-50 (12.77 Km) lies in this portion between Khari-Sumber. The rail projects will improve connectivity, ensure environmental sustainability, and boost the overall economic development of the region.

As per a PTI report, a source in the Indian railways informed that Railways will get a step closer to connecting Srinagar with Kanyakumari. The source also called the “Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link (USBRL) project is one of the most ambitious Himalayan railway projects post Independence”.

USBRL’s Banihal-Sangaldan section

As per the railway authorities, the Banihal-Khari-Sumber-Sangaldan route has been built at Rs 15,863 crore. Coming to the detail, the route encompasses 16 bridges, out of which 11 are major ones and one road overbridge.

Over 90% of it is in tunnels, with 11 tunnels making up 43.37 kilometers, including the country’s longest transportation tunnel viz T-50. Notably, the tunnel spans 12.77 kilometers in the Khari-Sumber section, a senior official revealed.

The marquee project will connect thousands of families in remote pockets of Jammu and Kashmir’s Ramban district. The people in this region have waited for years for the train services, and as the PM is slated to open the Banihal-Sangaldan section on Tuesday, it will fulfill their decades-old dream and completely transform their lives.

Deciphering USBRL

Sanctioned in 1994-95, the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail link (USBRL) project (272 km) has a Rs 37,012 crore budget, against which, expenditure of Rs 26,786 crore has been incurred up to March 2022.

Out of the total 272 km USBRL project, 161 km was commissioned in phases. The first phase between the Qazigund-Baramulla section of 118 km was commissioned in October 2009, followed by 18-km Banihal-Qazigund in June 2013 and 25-km long Udhampur-Katra in July 2014.

It is noteworthy that the world’s highest railway arc bridge over the Chenab River at a height of 359 m (1,178 ft) also comes under the crucial link from the Katra to the Banihal section of USBRL.

Prime Minister inaugurated and dedicated multiple development projects worth over Rs 32,000 crore in Jammu today.

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