Historic Milestone: First Direct Train Between Jammu and Kashmir Valley Set to Debut in January
In a historic development, the ambitious Udhampur-Baramulla rail link project is nearing completion, poised to connect the Kashmir Valley with the rest of the country. This significant milestone is set to usher in the first-ever direct train service between the two regions of the Union Territory.
Officials report that over 95 percent of the 272-kilometer Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail link project (USBRL) has been completed, with the remaining work progressing at an advanced stage. Once operational, this direct train service promises to significantly reduce travel time between Srinagar and Jammu from six hours to just 3.5 hours, providing much-needed relief to commuters.
The project’s impact extends beyond improved travel times, as it is anticipated to stimulate economic growth. The railway will facilitate the transportation of goods, making it easier to convey horticulture items, including apples, and other agricultural products from Jammu and Kashmir. The alignment of the USBRL involves overcoming the challenges of constructing numerous tunnels and bridges across demanding Himalayan terrain.
Vinod Kumar, Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Northern Railways, affirms that the project is on track for completion by December 2023 or January 2024, as per the scheduled timeline. The inauguration of this transformative rail link is eagerly awaited, representing a remarkable feat in enhancing connectivity for the region.
The USBRL project encompasses 38 tunnels, with the T-49 tunnel being the longest in the country at 12.75 km. Additionally, 927 bridges, including the iconic Chenab Bridge, the world’s highest steel arch rail bridge, contribute to this engineering marvel.
Looking ahead, the government plans to launch the highly anticipated Vande Bharat Metro train service between Jammu and Srinagar. Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has announced the establishment of a Vande Bharat Express train maintenance facility in Central Kashmir’s Budgam district. As part of the broader plan, three state-of-the-art Vande Bharat Express trains designated for J&K are expected to commence operations once electrification of railway lines in both regions is complete.
The completion of the Udhampur-Baramulla rail link signifies a transformative moment, enhancing connectivity, fostering economic development, and bringing unprecedented convenience to the people of Kashmir.