Vande Bharat: Vande Bharat Services in Kashmir Valleys.. Project Construction, Challenges, Benefits! IG News

Vande Bharat: The ambitious Vande Bharat project is being implemented successfully by the Central Government. Vande Bharat trains are already providing services on many major routes in the country. Due to reduced travel time and advanced facilities, they are getting good acceptance from people. Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnav recently announced that the Vande Bharat Express train will run between Jammu-Kashmir in this order. He said that this train will be available after the construction work of Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Railway Line (USBRL) is completed. USBRL is a 272 km long railway line. The train service is expected to start in December 2023 or January-February 2024.

The Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Railway Line (USBRL) connects Srinagar and Baramulla in Kashmir with the rest of the region through train connectivity. This rail line will provide an alternative to the Jammu-Srinagar national highway which is frequently closed due to landslides.

* History of the project

According to Indian Express News Report, the first railway line in Jammu and Kashmir was built by the British in 1897 between Jammu and Sialkot in the plains. In 1902 and 1905, proposals were made for a railway line between Rawalpindi and Srinagar along the Jhelum River. But they did not develop because of the priority given to the Jammu-Srinagar route via Maharaja and Reasi. After partition, Jammu did not become part of India’s rail network until the Pathankot-Jammu route was opened in 1975.

However, in 1983, work on the Jammu-Udhampur railway line began. It took 21 years to complete. The route has 20 major tunnels and 158 bridges. In 1994, the government approved the USBRL project to extend the Jammu-Udhampur line to Srinagar and Baramulla. After 2002, the project gained momentum after it was declared as a national project. Currently, the cost of the project has increased to Rs.35,000 crore.

* Security, protection

A broad gauge railway line has a gradient of 0.5-1 percent, which means that bank engines are not required in mountainous terrain. Diesel locomotives will be used initially, but electrification is a possibility in the future. Trains can travel at a speed of 100 km per hour. Main bridges, tunnels and railway stations will be illuminated and CCTV cameras will be installed. The track and tunnels are built to meet minimum maintenance.

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* Challenges and innovations

The Himalayas are geographically unstable. There is a threat of earthquakes in Shivalik hills and Pir Panjal mountain areas. It snows heavily in winter. It takes a lot of work to build bridges and tunnels. To meet these challenges, more than 205 km of motorable roads have been built to transport construction materials and workers. 2,000 crores have been spent on this road with one tunnel and 320 bridges. Many of these sites are located on steep mountainsides with slopes of 70 degrees or more.

Railway engineers have developed a unique Himalayan Tunneling Method (HTM) to construct complex tunnels, large bridges in unstable mountainous terrain. In this method, horseshoe-shaped tunnels are constructed instead of the usual D-shaped tunnels. This gives more strength to the structure where the soil above is loose.

* Benefits

This train will reduce the travel time between Srinagar and Jammu by road from five to six hours to three to three and a half hours. This is expected to reduce the cost of transportation of daily consumables from other parts of the country to the valley. For this, four cargo terminals will be constructed between Banihal and Baramulla. Land has been identified for three of these terminals.

According to Railway Minister Vaishnav, people can travel from Jammu to Srinagar on Vande Bharat and return on the same day. This train is useful for easy and fast transportation of goods like apples, dry fruits, pashmina shawls, handicrafts to other parts of the country.

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Tags: Kashmir, Vande Bharat Train