NEW DELHI

Valley rail project breaking new ground

The Jammu-Udhampur-Katra-Quazigund-Baramulla railway line in Jammu and Kashmir, which includes the 11-km-long Pir Panjal tunnel, is counted as one of the biggest and most challenging projects undertaken by the railways. The Srinagar Valley project saw another day break on July 29 when the tunnel No. 43 between Sangaldan and Dharam was completed.

The 1,671-metre long tunnel passes through strata of poor geology. According to Northern Railway, work on the tunnel was started in June 2006 and suspended in July 2008 along with suspension of works in the entire project owing to difficult terrain. The work recommenced in September 2009 after getting clearance from an expert committee.

A Northern Railway official said: “The tunnelling in this poor geology consisting of muree formation was the biggest challenge. Due to this, an elliptical shape of the tunnel across the section was adopted for the first time instead of the usual D-shape. The tunnel was completed in 35 months excluding the suspended period of 14 months. This is the first successful completion of the tunnel in the Konkan Railway Corporation Limited portion of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramullah Railway Link Project.

“After the breakthrough, the alignment of the tunnel has been found to be perfect which is one of the biggest achievements. The safety record of this tunnel construction has been excellent with not a single casualty during the execution of the work. There were some initial failures by way of some collapses, but it has been tackled satisfactorily through engineering solutions. The total cost of the work of the tunnel is approximately Rs.95 crore,” he added.

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