Indian Railways’ Bilaspur-Manali-Leh railway line: Imagine being able to travel to the scenic Leh by train, that too on the world’s highest railway line! The proposed Indian Railways line connecting Bilaspur, Manali and Leh is scheduled to become operational by the year 2022. The strategically significant Bilaspur-Manali-Leh railway line project of Indian Railways, which will lie along the Indo-China border, will not only help armed forces of the country but will also boost tourism and will also lead to the development of the region. Interestingly, last year in October, it was reported that the world’s highest – Bilaspur-Manali-Leh rail line has been proposed by the Railway Ministry to be declared as a national project. Let us take a look at 10 interesting facts about the upcoming Bilaspur-Manali-Leh rail line project of Indian Railways:
1) The Bilaspur-Manali-Leh rail line project is set to be at the highest point of 5360 metres above mean sea level. The Indian Railways’ project is comparable only to China’s Qinghai-Tibet rail line.
2) The 51 km long section from Upshi in Himachal Pradesh and Phe in Leh will be completed in two years. It will cost around Rs 5,000 crore.
3) On completion of this section, locations between Bilaspur and Leh like Manali, Mandi, Upshi, Sundernagar, Koksar, Karu, Keylong, Darcha as well as other important towns of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir will get connectivity.
4) With the completion of this rail line project, travel time between Delhi and Leh will also reduce drastically. Currently, it takes 40 hours but with the opening of the new line, it will take 20 hours.
5) According to the first phase of the survey, the Bilaspur-Manali-Leh rail line project will have 74 tunnels along with 124 major and 396 minor bridges.
6) The Keylong railway station in Himachal Pradesh will be the first station of Indian Railways, which will be built under a tunnel.
7) Once the project is completed, it will cover a total distance of 465 km. For the entire project, an amount of Rs 83,360 crore is being spent.
8) It is the most difficult project undertaken by Indian Railways. Also, the Bilaspur-Manali-Leh rail line is one of the most significant projects in terms of strategic importance.
9) The project is one of the four strategic railway lines being developed by the national transporter to fortify India’s borders with China. The other rail lines are North Lakhimpur-Bame (Along)-Silapathar line, Missamari-Tenga-Tawang line and Pasighat-Tezu-Parsuram Kund-Rupai line.
10) The coaches for Bilaspur-Manali-Leh rail line will be specially built for high altitude. Also, oxygen masks are likely to be present for every passenger, given that the cabin pressure in the coaches will have to be maintained, in line with what happens in aircraft at high altitude.