The Chenab bridge, the world’s highest single-arch railway bridge is near completion and will soon be opened for for general public. Built of Chenab river in Jammu and Kashmir’s Reasi district on the Baramulla railway line, the bridge is in the final stages of completion. The bridge, on the upstream of Salal Dam, is situated near Kauri village in the Jammu and Kashmir’s Reasi district. After completion, the Chenab Railway Bridge will be 35m higher than the Eiffel tower. The highest railway bridge at the time is located on the Bepanjiang River in Guizhou Province, China, with a height of 275 meters above the water level.

Chenab Bridge: Key Points

  • Named ‘Chenab Bridge’, this railway bridge will be 359 meters higher than the water level of the Chenab river and its length will be 1315 meters.
  • It is being constructed by the Northern Railway at an estimated cost of Rs 28,000 crore as part of the Udhampursringarbaramulla Rail Link Project.
  • The completion of the project will a major achievement towards the completion of the 111 km long Katra-Banhal railway section, for which massive Himalayan Hills are being mined.
  • After the completion of the steel arch of the bridge, the arch above the deck will also be completed this month.
  • The installation of the arch before the construction of the deck was one of the biggest civil engineering challenges in the recent history of India, with a 5.6-meter span at the top of the bridge being connected at the centre on both sides.
  • Out of the 111 km, there is 97 km of tunnelling which is more than 85%. Tunnelling on this scale has not been done in any other part of the country. About 86 km of tunnelling work has been completed so far. Built on Darya Chenab, the arch of this bridge is capable of withstanding winds of 266 kilometres per hour.
  • The bridge gas 17 pillars and is built using 28,660 metric tons of steel, at an estimated cost of Rs 1,486 crore.
  • The weight of the installed arch is 10,619 metric tons.
  • The steel used in the structure is suitable for temperatures ranging from minus 10 degrees Celsius to minus 40 degrees Celsius. The bridge will have a minimum lifespan of 120 years and will be built for trains at a speed of 100 km.
  • This bridge has the ability to withstand winds of 266 kilometres per hour and withstand blast load and withstand severe earthquakes.
  • The bridge has 93 deck segments, each weighing about 85T, launched simultaneously on reinforced steel arches from both ends, and work is underway on five.
  • The two ends will eventually be joined with ‘High Strength Fraction Grip’ (HSFG) bolts to complete the upper deck of the bridge. The bridge has been constructed by Afcons, a Mumbai-based company.

History of Railways in Kashmir

Notably, train ran for the first time in Kashmir in 2008 after one and a half hundred years of the introduction of the railway system in the subcontinent, which was inaugurated by the then Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh inaugurated this first train service on October 11, by flagging  it off from the Nowgam railway station near summer capital Srinagar.