Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Sunday said a Vande Bharat Metro train will be operated between Jammu and Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir once the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link Project (USBRL) becomes fully operational.
Addressing mediapersons at the first run of a track-mounted trolley on the world's highest arch bridge constructed on the Chenab river, he said the USBRL project will be completed by December this year or January 2024.
Vaishnaw travelled on the track-mounted trolley with railway officials and inspected the iconic bridge having the height of 359 metres from the Chenab riverbed.
Vaishnaw said it has been decided to set up a Vande Bharat Express train maintenance facility at Badgam in the Kashmir Valley and in the first go Vande Bharat Metro will be run between Jammu and Srinagar cities once this important railway link, which will connect the Kashmir Valley with the rest of the country through rail network gets completed.
The iconic bridge having a foundation equal to half the football field is a "subject of pride" and it was "difficult challenge of engineering", he said, adding that more than 28,000 metric tonnes of steel was used for the bridge structure that is built in a highly active seismic zone.
The Northern Railway officials said the arch bridge was constructed at a cost of Rs 1,486 crore.
The deck height of the bridge is 359 metres, while its length is 1,315 metres. The arch bridge has 17 spans and the linear length of the main arch span is 460 metres and it is curvilinear, they said.
The codal life of the bridge is 120 years and the bridge can withstand the wind speed of 266 kmph, but the train can cross the bridge at the speed of 100 kmph.