Kashmir Rail Successful trial through Khari-Sumber Successful trial through Khari-Sumber section raises hope of completion of Kashmir Rail Link Project Jammu, Jan 26: On the eve of Republic Day, a video shared by the Minister for Railways, Communications, Electronics, and Information Technology, Ashwini Vaishnaw, on his personal social media account rekindled hope of the early completion of the dream project of directly connecting Kashmir Valley with the rest of the country through trains. The completion of the ambitious Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link (USBRL) project would pave the way for taking the train directly to Kashmir from Udhampur.
“Trials Successful: EMU runs through Bharat’s longest transportation tunnel (13 km)!!! Khari-Sumber section, Jammu & Kashmir“, the Railways Minister posted while sharing a video of an engine smoothly running on the tracks. As per Railway officials, after the successful trial of the EMU trains through the longest transportation tunnel on the Khari-Sumber section, the Udhampur-Baramulla section is set to be extended until Sumber now.
On January 3, the Commissioner of Railways Safety (CRS) conducted the second round of statutory inspections between Banihal and Khari along the USBRL project. The Khari railway station, situated in Jammu and Kashmir’s Ramban district, falls between Banihal and Katra on the remaining 111-kilometer stretch of the USBRL project, set to connect Kashmir with the rest of the country by train in the coming months.
Trial runs on the Banihal-Khari Section were conducted in December
On December 6, 2023, Northern Railways successfully conducted the first trial run of an electric train from Banihal to Khari, bringing joy to the local population in the remote, picturesque area.
The 16-km Banihal-Khari segment forms part of the 111-km-long final phase of the USBRL project, connecting Banihal to Katra.
Engineers of Ircon International Limited, engaged by Northern Railway for the USBRL Project, informed that the 25 KV railway electrification (ROCS) work between Banihal and Khari stations was completed. Additionally, the first trial run of an electric engine with six coaches was also successfully conducted by the Northern Railway Firozpur division.
272-km USBRL was declared a “national project”
The 272-km Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link aims to connect Kashmir Valley with the rest of the country by a broad-gauge railway line. Given the importance of the USBRL in providing seamless and hassle-free connectivity to Kashmir, it was declared as a “National Project” in 2002. Out of the total 272 km USBRL project, the first phase of the 118-km Qazigund-Baramulla section was commissioned in October 2009, followed by the 18-km Banihal-Qazigund in June 2013 and 25-km Udhampur-Katra in July 2014.
The USBRL project, initiated in 1997, represents one of the most challenging railway infrastructure projects post-independence, facing multiple delays and cost escalations.–(Agencies)