- The bridge falls on the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla railway line
- The 1.315 kms long bridge -- built at a dizzying height of 359 metres
- It can fit entire Eiffel Tower (330 metres tall), plus roughly a 10-storied tall building below it
Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla railway line: In a proud moment and more than that a challenging one, the golden joint of world's highest railway bridge on Chenab river has been completed. The bridge falls on the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla railway line. The workers celebrated the occasion by hoisting the national flag and firing crackers.
"This has been a long journey. The term 'Golden Joint' was coined by civil engineers.... It's the world's highest railway bridge," said Sanjay Gupta, Chairman & MD, Konkan Railway.
Single-arch bridge can fit Eiffel Tower below it
The 1.315 kms long bridge -- built at a dizzying height of 359 metres -- can fit the entire Eiffel Tower (330 metres tall), plus roughly a 10-storied tall building below it.
It will connect the Salal-A and Dugga railway stations on either side of the bridge with the mighty River Chenab gushing below in the picture-postcard Reasi district.
The bridge comprises 93 deck segments, each weighing around 85 tonnes, launched simultaneously from both ends of the valley over the massive steel arch and work on joining five segments in in full progress on the single line linking Katra (Jammu) with Qazigund (Kashmir), some 75 kms away, he said.
Project part of 272-kms long railway line from Udhampur to Baramulla
The project is part of the ambitious 272-kms long railway line from Udhampur to Baramulla joining Jammu with the Kashmir valley as an all-weather highspeed alternative, named the 'Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link Project'.
The bridge has so far gobbled up around 30,350 tonnes steel, comprising 10,620 tonnes to build the gigantic arch and 14,500 tonnes for the bridge deck, and stands majestically near the Kauri village on the upstream of Salal Dam.
Explaining the high-tech that has gone into the construction, Rajagopalan said that for the first time in Indian Railways, incremental launching was done on transition curve and a longitudinal gradient, both at the same location, for the deck launching of the viaduct portion on the bridge.
Normally, bridges are built incrementally on a straight or curved platform with a uniform radius, and executing launching activities in inclement weather with stormy winds was extremely challenging, and Northern Railways and Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd played a big role in finalising the bridge design, he added.
Construction done battling extreme weather conditions
Given the height, the extreme weather conditions and strong gales that often lash the valley, the sophisticated automatic signalling system installed on both sides will stop the trains from crossing the bridge if wind speeds there touch 90-kmph.
Stressing on quality and safety, a NABL laboratory was set up at the Afcons site to monitor quality at all stages, weld sample tests, etc, saving huge time, and NR permitted the use of Phased Array Ultrasonic Testing Machine to inspect welds for the first time in the country.
The access roads to the project site helped generate local employment while providing connectivity to several remote villages in the region, the fabrication work was carried out in workshops at both ends with the heavy and bulky segments transported to the launch pad using a specialised modular trailer, said Rajagopalan.
The Afcons team of engineers also designed a launch platform with a segment lifting capacity of 120 tonnes for a height of around 39 metre, developed and implemented several other innovations to overcome the various challenges of the treacherous mountainous terrain.
The 272-km long railway line will have 38 tunnels (total length 119 -kms) with the country's longest tunnel T-49 (12.75 kms), 927 big and small bridges (total length 13 kms), and mark a new era in the development and progress of Jammu & Kashmir, said officials.