Track-laying work on Indian Railways’ first cable-stayed Anji Khad bridge in Reasi district of J&K is continuing apace. With the completion of ongoing track-linking work on Anji bridge- one of the major components of Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link (USBRL) project- Indian Railways will edge closer to connecting Kashmir valley to the rest of the railway network.
According to Chief Engineer (S) USBRL Sandeep Gupta, track-laying work is progressing at a brisk pace and over half of track-linking work has been completed.
“Ballast-Less Track is being laid. The process is on and out of over 120 km, more than 102 km of track linking has been completed,” Gupta, who was in Uttarkashi, told over phone.
According to Northern Railway, track linking on Anji bridge is targeted for completion by the end of this year. With regard to overall progress on the Anji bridge and USBRL project, Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) USBRL has informed that Ancillary Viaduct (120 m) and central embankment (94.25m) have been completed.
In case of main cable-stayed bridge (473.25m), pylon work, steel superstructure launching or erection and deck slab concreting; final stressing of cables too have been completed.
“The bridge is physically completed as recently the lift-off of stay cables to check forces in cables with multi-jacks was successfully finished. This was followed by preparatory works for track-linking,” says CAO USBRL.
This bridge is part of the third leg from Katra to Banihal (111 km) of the USBRL project. Presently work is underway on this (Katra to Banihal) section. The deck of Anji bridge, being constructed over Anji Khad, is 331 m above the river bed level and height of its main pylon is 193 m.
Giving an update on Katra-Banihal Section of USBRL project, CAO USBRL points out that this project is, perhaps, the most difficult new railway line project undertaken in the country post-independence. “The terrain passes through the young Himalaya, which is full of geological surprises and numerous problems. This section predominantly involves tunnelling i.e., 97.42 km, out of 111 km (i.e., 87 percent) of length of Katra-Banihal section, is in tunnels and maximum length of tunnel T-49 is 12.77 km, which will be longest transportation railway tunnel in the country,” he says.
There are 27 Main Tunnels (MTs), having length of 97.42 km and 8 Escape Tunnels (ET) having length of 66.4 km, with cumulative length of 163.82 km. Escape Tunnel (ET) has been provided in 8 tunnels having length in excess of 3 kms for safety and rescue as per international standards.
At present 163.79 km of Tunnel Mining i.e., 97.39 km (26) out of 97.42 km (27) of Main Tunnel and the entire ET mining of 66.40 km (8) have been completed. Tunnel lining of 159.9 km i.e., 96.4 km (24) out of 97.42 km (27) of Main Tunnel and 63.5 km (3) out of 66.4 km (8) have been completed.
There are 37 bridges (combined length of 7 km) and they include 26 major bridges and 11 minor bridges. At present, 25 major bridges and 11 minor bridges have been completed and work on all fronts is in full swing.
“These bridges include the iconic Chenab bridge with overall length 1315 m, arch span of 467 m and height of 359 m above river bed. This is the highest Railway bridge in the world. Chenab bridge has been completed. Then there is the Anji Khad bridge. Construction of other mega bridges i.e., Br 39 (490.25m) and Br 43 (777m) have been completed respectively. Total 7 stations are in between Katra- Banihal section. Work on all stations has been completed,” CAO USBRL informs.
As per the updated status, almost the entire section, including yards, is laid on Ballastless Track (BLT). Out of the total scope of 118.1 km, approximately 100.03 km of BLT has been laid. Similarly, out of the total scope of 120.9 km, 102.05 km of track linking has been completed.
He points out that electromechanical works for Katra- Banihal have been sanctioned. All tenders, which include Integrated sub-stations, power supply arrangement, tunnel ventilation, tunnel lighting, firefighting and SCADA (Supervisory Control & Data Acquisition) have been awarded and work is in progress.
ROCS Being Proived For The First Time On Indian Railway
“The electrification work of the Katra-Banihal section is sanctioned and work is in progress. Rigid Overhead Conductor System (ROCS) is being provided for the first time on Indian Railway,” he says.
Electrification work in Banihal- Baramulla section has already been completed in September, 2022.
“Due to tough, geological, topographical conditions and bad weather, frequent landslides; washout and snowfall; rainfalls occur which result in cut-off of the approach road to the project sites. These challenges are frequently encountered while executing the project works. However, all safety precautions are being ensured while executing the project works,” CAO USBRL mentions.