Trial Run on Chenab Bridge in Jammu and Kashmir: World’s Tallest Arch Bridge to Host First Train on June 30

Trial Run of Train on World’s Highest Steel Arch Bridge in Jammu Completed

On Sunday, Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw announced the successful completion of the first trial run of a train between Sangaldan and Reasi in Jammu. This train traversed the Chenab Bridge, known as the world’s highest steel arch bridge. Vaishnaw shared the news of this successful trial on social media.

The Chenab Bridge stands taller than the Eiffel Tower in Paris. While the Eiffel Tower’s height is 330 meters, this 1.3-kilometer-long bridge is constructed at a height of 359 meters above the Chenab River. According to railway sources, following the successful trial of the electric engine on the Sangaldan-Reasi route, the first train is scheduled to run on this route on June 30.

Railway Minister’s Update on Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link (USBARL) Project

Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw stated that the construction work for the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link (USBARL) project is almost complete. Some construction is still pending on Tunnel Number 1. Once the USBARL project is finished, Indian Railways will achieve another milestone in connecting the Kashmir Valley with the rest of the country’s railway network.

On June 15, Union Minister and BJP MP from Udhampur, Jitendra Singh, also wrote on X that train services would soon commence on the world’s highest railway bridge between Sangaldan in Ramban and Reasi. The USBARL project is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

Railway Safety Commissioner’s Inspection and USBARL Project Update

Railway Safety Commissioner D.C. Deswal will inspect the 46-kilometer-long Sangaldan-Reasi route on June 27 and 28. Deepak Kumar, Chief PRO of Northern Railway, stated that the remaining work would be completed by the time of the inspection.

The USBARL project, which began in 1997, aims to lay 272 kilometers of railway line. So far, 209 kilometers have been completed in various phases. By the end of this year, the final 17 kilometers connecting Reasi to Katra will be laid, thereby linking Kashmir with the rest of the country by rail.

The Completion of the Chenab Bridge

Even 76 years after India’s independence, the Kashmir Valley remained cut off from the rest of the country during snowfall. Until February 22, 2024, the only access to the valley was via National Highway-44, which often closed due to snow.

To reach Kashmir, trains only traveled up to Jammu Tawi, from where people had to cover nearly 350 kilometers by road. The journey through the Jawahar Tunnel from Jammu Tawi to the valley took about 8 to 10 hours.

In 2003, the Indian government decided to construct the Chenab Bridge to connect the Kashmir Valley with the rest of the country regardless of weather conditions. The project received approval the same year, with an initial completion target of 2009, which was not met.

Now, nearly two decades later, the bridge over the Chenab River is ready. This bridge can withstand explosives up to 40 kilograms and earthquakes up to a magnitude of 8 on the Richter scale. It is designed to last for the next 120 years.

Strategic Importance of the Chenab Bridge for India

According to defense expert J.S. Sodhi, the Chenab Bridge is located in the Akhnoor region of Kashmir. This area is strategically significant for India, similar to the Siliguri Corridor in the Northeast, often referred to as the “Chicken’s Neck.” If China were to seize control of the Siliguri Corridor, it could potentially split the country into two. In a similar vein, the Akhnoor area is considered the “Chicken’s Neck” of Kashmir.

The construction of the Chenab Bridge in this region holds immense strategic importance for India. It ensures that both the military and civilians can travel through this crucial area during all seasons, whether by train or other vehicles. This enhanced connectivity is a significant advantage for India’s defense and logistical operations, raising concerns for neighboring countries like Pakistan and China.

Rahul Sharma

My name is Rahul Sharma. As a passionate writer and explorer, I'm always seeking inspiration in lifestyle, fashion, beauty, food & drink, and travel. With years of experience in the industry, I bring a unique perspective to my writing, blending my love for culture, style, and adventure.