Considered as a major milestone on the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link (USBRL) project of Northern Railway, the breakthrough of the crucial tunnel (T-13), in the difficult terrain paved the way for completion of the national project on Monday (29 August).
According to USBRL Chief Administrative Officer SP Mahi, the daylighting of the single section of 8 km long main tunnel, a crucial exercise for making the tunnel operational was done making it completely through from its south portal.
The line and level of the tunnel has been precisely achieved in the breakthrough.
On 2 August 2022, the escape tunnel of T-13 was made through. The total length of the T-13 main tunnel is 9.26 km (combined length), having a single section length of 8 km and a wider section length of 1.2 km.
The total length of tunnel made through at present is 9.1 km with balance length of 150 m in the wider section targeted for completion shortly, said Mahi, who was on the site at the time of breakthrough.
The wider sections of the tunnel have been designed to accommodate station yards of Dugga and Sawlakot on either portal ends. The tunnel shall be paved with state of the art ballast less track keeping in view the low maintenance aspects and good riding comfort.
The breakthrough of this main tunnel single tube leg has been achieved successfully overcoming several geological and social challenges prominent being hostile terrain, remote location, weak and fractured geology embedded with surprises in lower Himalayas and inclement weather conditions in the area.
Northern Railway General Manager Ashutosh Gangal said that, the completion of the boring work of this important tunnel connecting Dugga and Basindadhar stations is one of the major achievements on the Katra–Banihal section of the USBRL project.
With this breakthrough, the national project aiming at seamless train journey from Kashmir to Kanyakumari is nearing completion.
Currently, many sections of the project are being operational. While the 25 km long Udhampur–Katra section was commissioned in July 2014, the 18 km long Banihal–Quazigund section was commissioned in June 2013.
The Qazigund –Baramulla (118 km) section was commissioned in three phases, the last phase commissioned in October 2009. Work is in progress on the most difficult section of 111 km long Katra-Banihal.
Completion of the Katra-Banihal section expected to be in 2023 would pave the way for the regular movement of people and goods into the Valley and also from Kashmir to other parts of the country.