The World’s Highest Arch Rail Bridge: Connecting Kashmir Valley

The Indian Railways has achieved a remarkable feat by completing the challenging Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail link project (USBRL) in Jammu and Kashmir.
The World’s Highest Arch Rail Bridge: Connecting Kashmir Valley

The Indian Railways has achieved a remarkable feat by completing the challenging Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail link project (USBRL) in Jammu and Kashmir. This project, which spans 272 kilometers from Udhampur to Baramulla, is a crucial endeavor aimed at integrating the Kashmir Valley with the Indian railway network. Post-independence, the USBRL project stands as one of the most ambitious undertakings by the Indian Railways.

Project Highlights:

  • Tunnels: The USBRL project includes 38 tunnels, with the longest tunnel (T-49) stretching over 12.75 kilometers. These tunnels provide essential connectivity through the rugged terrain of the region.

  • Bridges: The project features 927 bridges, including the prestigious Chenab Bridge. The Chenab Bridge, with a length of 1315 meters, an arch span of 467 meters, and a height of 359 meters above the riverbed, is the world’s highest arch railway bridge. It stands taller than the Eiffel Tower by approximately 35 meters.

  • Electrification: The electrification work on this section has been carried out using the state-of-the-art technology known as ROCS (Rigid Overhead Conductor System), a first for the Indian Railways.

Recently, the Indian Railways successfully conducted a trial run of an MEMU (Mainline Electric Multiple Unit) train (8 coaches) on the electrified section between Sangaldan and Reasi, covering a distance of 46 kilometers at a speed of 40 kilometers per hour. Notably, this trial marked the first time a complete train crossed the Chenab Bridge, the world’s highest arch railway bridge.

The inauguration of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail link project, including the Banihal-Qazigund section (48.1 kilometers), took place on February 20, 2024. The project’s first phase was inaugurated in October 2009, covering the 118-kilometer-long Katra-Qazigund section.

Subsequent phases included the 18-kilometer Banihal-Katra section (June 2013) and the 25-kilometer Udhampur-Katra section (July 2014).

In addition to improving transportation links, the completion of the USBRL project is evidence of India's engineering competence and will to overcome geographical obstacles. The highest arch rail bridge in the world, which spans the Chenab River, today stands for progress and communication for the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

Today, the highest arch rail bridge in the world crosses the Chenab River and represents development and connectivity for the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

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