Himachal Pradesh Soon To Have World's Highest Railway Network With A First Of Its Kind Station Inside A Tunnel
The Indian Himalayan Region (IHR) over the northern states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, as well as the hill regions of two eastern states, Assam and West Bengal. For long time these treacherous mountain areas have been cut off from the rest of India, they had very few airports and railway stations to boast off. But lately it seems conscious efforts are being made to make these Himalayan areas easily accessible. A case in point is Pakyong Airport, Sikkim. This is one of the highest airports in India built at 4500 ft.
Pakyong Airport, Sikkim
Railways too are coming up with their share of ambitious projects like the Bogibeel project in Dibrugarh, Assam; the Jiribam-Imphal line; the Vangaichungpao-Kaimai-Kambiron; the (Deemapur) Dhansiri – Kohima (Zubza) line in Nagaland etc. The latest to join the list of the ambitious project is the strategic Bilaspur-Manali-Leh line, strategic because it's very close to India-China border.
The USP of this project is that for the first time in India, a railway station i.e. Keylong station in Himachal Pradesh will be built inside a 27 km long tunnel at a height of 3,000 metres. Chief engineer construction, Northern Railway, D R Gupta, told PTI that "The Keylong station, in the project, will be inside the tunnel according to the first phase of the location survey. This will be the first such railway station in the country. As and when the final surveys are completed, there could be many such stations on the route."
Image used for representational purpose
Keylong is the administrative centre of the Lahaul and Spiti district in Himachal Pradesh. Its location is of utmost importance, it is just 26 km north of Manali and 120 km from the Indo-Tibetan border. The line once completed will connect all important locations between Bilaspur and Leh like Sundernagar, Mandi, Manali, Keylong, Koksar, Darcha, Upshi and Karu and other towns of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.
Kangra Valley Railway Bridge
Not only that the project will include 74 tunnels, 124 major bridges and 396 minored bridges, according to the first phase of the survey. "Once finished, the line will halve the duration taken to cover the distance between Delhi and Leh, from 40 hours to 20 hours," said Vishwesh Chaube, general manager, Northern Railway to New Indian Express.
This railways line would be of great importance, not only will it boost tourism in this part of the region but also due to its close proximity to Indo-Sino border it can facilitate in movement of goods and personnel to the frontier areas.
Picture Source: YourStory.com; Outlook India; BusinessToday.in; wearehimachali.in
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