Two days before the 75th Independence Day, India scripted a new chapter in the path of development as the "golden joint" of the world's highest railway bridge on the mighty river Chenab was completed on Saturday amid the hoisting of national flags and shouting of patriotic slogans.
The long cherished dream of travelling to Kashmir by rail can now be fulfilled as the Railways on Saturday joined the "golden joint" of the world's highest railway bridge built on the Chenab river.
By next year, the work of laying the track on it will also be completed. The most prominent feature is that safety standards have been taken care of on this bridge.
The "golden joint" was connected under the supervision of senior railway officials on Saturday. Railway officials and employees associated with this dream project were over-enthusiastic after connecting the joint.
This was the biggest obstacle in this project. Now only the work of laying the track is left on this. Its deck work was completed only last year.
Expressing happiness on the occasion, Chief Administrative Officer, Udhampur-Baramulla link of Railways, Surendra Mahi said that now it will not take much time to reach Kashmir by train. All the work will be completed within a year. By next year people can travel by rail to Srinagar.
The bridge is 35 meters higher than the Eiffel Tower
This arch bridge is being built on the Chenab river in the Reasi district of the Jammu division, which is 35 meters taller than the Eiffel Tower. The height of its arch is 359 meters above the water level of the Chenab river. Salal-A and Dugga railway stations have been connected on both sides with the launch of overarch deck of the Chenab bridge.
Now a target has been set to complete the work of laying railway tracks by December. The 1.315 km long Chenab Railway Bridge will connect Salal-A and Duga railway stations.
The bridge is being made earthquake resistant. This bridge is part of the 272 km long railway project from Udhampur to Baramulla. The Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail link is an ambitious project of the country.
Special about this bridge
The length of the 17-pillared bridge is 1315 meters and 28,660 metric tonnes of steel have been used in its construction at Rs 1,486 crore. The installed arch weighs 10,619 metric tons. The steel used in the structure is suitable for temperatures ranging from minus 10 °C to minus 40 °C. The minimum lifespan of the bridge is 120 years. It is being made to run trains at a speed of 100 km.
The Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail link is included in the country's ambitious project, for which an estimated expenditure of Rs 28,000 crores is to be spent.