Ramban, Feb 10: The first electric train trial run from Banihal to Khari and then to Sangaldan stretch on the 111-km long Banihal-Katra section of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link (USBRL) project was successfully conducted in Ramban district.
The trial run was conducted successfully on around 40 km of track and tunnels between Banihal and Sangaldan railway stations in Ramban district.
Engineers of Konkan and Ircon International Limited engaged by Northern Railway for the USBRL project informed that the 25 KV Railway Electrification (ROCS) work between Khari-Sumbar and Sangaldan stations was completed and following it, the electric engine trial run was successfully conducted by the concerned engineers of Northern Railway Firozpur Division.
Before it, in December 2023, January 2024, and earlier this month, high-speed train trial runs were successfully conducted on the newly laid rail line between Banihal-Khari and Sumber stations.
Officials said, “The work on the Sumbar and Sangaldan rail line was completed and the first trial run of the electric engine was successfully conducted late Friday on the Khari-Sumbar-Sangaldan sections of the Udhampur Srinagar Baramulla Rail Link (USBRL) project in Ramban district.”
Trial runs were conducted in the presence of senior officers and engineers of Northern Railway and construction companies Konkan and IRCON officials.
They said the first electric engine train trial was conducted on Friday afternoon.
The work on the Banihal, Khari, Sumbar and Sangaldan railway stations was already completed and ready for operation.
The Katra-Banihal section of the USBRL project was the most challenging due to the complex geological variations.
The USBRL project is one of the most ambitious national projects for the government and people of the region.
The 111-km Katra-Banihal alignment of the USBRL project passes through a large number of bridges and tunnels in mountainous terrain with difficult and complex geology.
Among several tunnels, the country's longest transportation tunnel - 12.75 km long tunnel T-49 is in the Khari tehsil of Ramban district and the highest cable-stayed railway bridge (Chenab bridge) was constructed on Anji Khad.
Once completed It will connect the Kashmir valley with the rest of the country through the rail network.
With the Banihal-Khari-Sumbar-Sangaldan section almost ready for operations, it is expected that the Katra-Banihal rail link is likely to be operationalised after the necessary CRS inspections in March 2024.
Sources said the Banihal-Khari-Sumbar and Sangaldan rail line in Ramban district was ready for operation.
Earlier on Friday Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of the Police, DKR range Shridhar Patil, DIG, Railway Protection Force, K K Ashraf, DIG Railway Haseeb Ur Rehman; SSP Ramban Anuj Kumar; SSP GRP Vinod Kumar; SSP Railway Harmeet Singh, officials from railway construction agency IRCON International and Northern Railway paid a visit to Banihal, Khari, Sumbar, and Sangaldan railway stations for taking stock of comprehensive security plan from Banihal to Sangaldan railway stations in Ramban district.
The officers stressed deploying sufficient security personnel at vantage points enroute Banihal-Sangaldan railway track.
DIG Railway Haseeb-Ur-Rehman told GKNS over the phone that the visit was important to ensure safety arrangements before starting rail service between Banihal-Sangaldan in the Katra-Banihal section of the USBRL project. He said visiting officials discussed with all railway and police officials and reviewed comprehensive security setup and effective security plan for the railway.
The Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) is visiting Khari-Sumbar and Sangaldan for statutory inspection on February 15 and 16. Sources said that the rail service from Banihal to Sangaldan is expected to be started before March.
(WITH INPUTS FROM MUHAMMAD TASKEEN)