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Vande Bharat Metro Train Between Jammu And Srinagar Once Udhampur-Baramulla Project Becomes Operational: Railway Minister

Vande Bharat Metro Train Between Jammu And Srinagar Once Udhampur-Baramulla Project Becomes Operational: Railway Minister

The Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link Project (USBRL) is set to be completed by December 2023 or January 2024, according to Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw. The project includes the world's highest arch bridge constructed on the Chenab river, with a Vande Bharat metro train planned to operate between Jammu and Srinagar once the project is fully operational.

Ashwini Vaishnaw
Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw Photo: PTI/Kamal Kishore

The Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link Project (USBRL) will be completed by December 2023 or January 2024 and a Vande Bharat metro train will be operated between Jammu and Srinagar once the project becomes fully operational, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Sunday. Vaishnaw traveled on the first run of a track-mounted trolley on the world's highest arch bridge constructed on the Chenab river with railway officials and inspected the iconic bridge having a height of 359 meters from the Chenab riverbed. He also performed pooja at the bridge before the inspection. Addressing media persons, the minister announced setting up a special training academy for engineers at Jammu. Speaking on the progress of work, he said the track work on the Chenab bridge has been completed and now electric work will be undertaken, besides the installation of Kavach- an anti-collision safety device.

The Chenab bridge was a difficult challenge as the terrain was a highly seismic activity-prone area, he said. 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 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 a "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. Northern Railway officials said the arch bridge was constructed at Rs 1,486 crore. The deck height of the bridge is 359 meters, while its length is 1,315 meters. The arch bridge has 17 spans and the linear length of the main arch span is 460 meters and it is curvilinear, they said.

The codal life of the bridge is 120 years and the bridge can withstand a wind speed of 266 kmph, but the train can cross the bridge at the speed of 100 kmph. "We are targeting that until December or January, Jammu-Srinagar connectivity is completed," Vaishnaw said, adding Vande Bharat train maintenance facility is being created at Badgam so that once the railway line becomes operational, Vande Bharat trains will come to Srinagar. He further said Vande Bharat trains will run on new USBRL on the route almost in the "first go". The railway minister said the (bridge) foundation design was the biggest challenge, apart from building tunnels in comparatively young Himalayan mountains as soft soil makes tunnel construction difficult.

"Once the Kashmir Vally will be connected with the Indian railway network, it will make the Jammu to Srinagar journey faster and more comfortable for passengers. Jammu to Srinagar journey by new railway link is expected to take 3.5 hours," Vaishnaw said, adding that Vande Metro service will run between Srinagar and Jammu cities, in which the trains will be run at a specific frequency. Vaishnaw said that once the line will be opened there will be ease in the transportation of apples and other agricultural products from Jammu and Kashmir. He also said a few locations have been identified to explore the tourism potential at Chenab bridge.

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