Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link: 60 Per Cent Length Commissioned, 111 Km Katra-Banihal Stretch To Open By January 2024


The Lok Sabha on Wednesday (29 March) was informed that out of a total of 272 km, around 60 per cent (161 km) of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link project has already been commissioned.

Work on balance stretch of Katra-Banihal section of 111 km, has been taken up, said Union Rail Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha.

Responding to a query from National Conference MP Hasnain Masoodi from Jammu and Kashmir, on the estimated timeline for the completion of the Udhampur-Baramulla Rail Link project, the ministry said completion of any such project depended on various factors.

Such factors include quick land acquisition by state government, forest clearance by officials of forest department, deposition of cost by state government in cost-sharing projects, shifting of infringing utilities, statutory clearances from various authorities, geological and topographical conditions of area, law and order situation in the project(s) site, and number of working months in a year due to climatic conditions.

One-Of-Its Kind

The 272-km-long Railway Line from Udhampur to Baramulla joining the Kashmir valley with the Indian Railways network under Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail link (USBRL) project was sanctioned in 1994-95.

One of the most challenging works undertaken post-independence by Indian Railways, the project aims to provide an alternative and a reliable transportation system to Jammu and Kashmir.

In view of the importance of the USBRL project in providing seamless and hassle-free connectivity, it was declared as a “National Project” in 2002.

The alignment of USBRL involves construction of a large number of tunnels and bridges in highly rugged and mountainous terrain, with a difficult and complex young Himalayan geology.

Alignment Plan-USBRL Project.

This project involves 38 tunnels (combined length of 119 km), the longest tunnel (T-49) is having a length of 12.75 km and is country’s longest transportation tunnel.

There are 927 bridges (combined length of 13 km). These bridges include the first and only cable-stayed rail bridge in the country being constructed across the steep slope of Anji Khad River.

A total of Rs 26,786 crore has been incurred up to March 2022 on the project against the estimated cost of Rs 37,012 crore, noted the reply.

Three Sections Completed

The length from Udhampur to Baramulla has been divided into four sections. These are Udhampur-Katra (25 km), Katra-Banihal (111 km), Banihal-Quazigund (18 km) and the 118 km Quazigund-Baramulla section.

Out of these, three sections, namely, Udhampur-Katra, Banihal-Quazigund and Quazigund-Baramulla have already been commissioned.

Last week, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said the Katra-Banihal line will be dedicated to the nation by January 2024.

The execution of the work in the balanced portion between Katra and Banihal has been divided among three agencies — Northern Railway (5 km), KRCL (53 km) and IRCON (53 km).

19 Trains Running

At present, 19 passenger special train services are running in Baramulla-Badgam-Banihal section of the USBRL project.

“Moreover, introduction of new train services or extension of existing train services is an ongoing process subject to traffic demand, operational feasibility and availability of rolling stock,” the Ministry said in its reply.