First Train from Kashmir likely to reach Reasi by June end


SRINAGAR, JUNE 22: The Sangaldan to Reasi railway line is nearing completion, bringing the ‘Jammu-Srinagar rail line project’ one step closer to reality.

Quoting officials, KNS – a news agency in Kashmir, said tthe first train between Sangaldan and Reasi is expected to be flagged off by the end of this month, marking a significant milestone in connecting the Reasi district in Jammu to Kashmir via railway.

Sources said that top railway officials will conduct final inspections of the Sangaldan-Reasi section, which includes the world’s highest steel arch rail bridge over the Chenab and several major tunnels, later this month.

“If all goes well, regular train services will commence by the end of this month or first week of July”, sources said.

Sources further said that the 272-kilometer rail corridor, designed to enhance connectivity and economic integration in the region, is almost complete.

“Only 17 Kilometre section between Reasi and Katra remains to be operational, with the final segment expected to be finished within the next six months,” sources said.

Once completed, the rail link will provide direct train services between Baramulla/Srinagar in Kashmir and major destinations such as Jammu, New Delhi, and Kanyakumari.

This development promises to boost tourism and trade and provide travelers with a more efficient mode of transportation across Jammu and Kashmir.

A trial run of the MEMU train (Mainline Electric Multiple Unit) was conducted recently on the newly constructed electrified line section (Reasi-Sangaldan), covering a route length of 46 kilometers on the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramula Rail Link (USBRL) project, at a speed of 40 kmph. Notably, this trial marked the first time a full train crossed over the iconic Chenab River bridge between Dugga and Bakkal stations.

This bridge is the world’s highest railway bridge, featuring a central span of 467 meters at an impressive height of 359 meters.

The USBRL project has been progressing in phases, with 209 kilometers out of the total 272 kilometers already commissioned. The phases include the 118-kilometer Qazigund-Baramulla section commissioned in October 2009, the 18-kilometer Banihal-Qazigund section in June 2013, the 25-kilometer Udhampur-Katra section in July 2014, and the 48.1-kilometer Banihal-Sangaldan stretch in February this year.

With the commissioning of the 46-kilometer Sangaldan-Reasi section, only the 17-kilometer stretch between Reasi and Katra remains to be completed. This segment is expected to be finished by the end of the year, connecting Kashmir with the rest of the country by train. Work on the project began in 1997 and has faced numerous delays due to geological, topographical, and meteorological challenges.

The 1.3-kilometer Chenab rail bridge, located 359 meters above the riverbed and 35 meters higher than the Eiffel Tower in Paris, forms a crucial link in the project. The Jammu and Kashmir Administration has already announced plans to develop the bridge as a tourist spot. The base of the steel and concrete arch bridge between Bakkal and Kauri, 42 kilometers from Reasi town, was completed in November 2017.

Construction of the main arch was finished in April 2021, and the overarch deck was completed in August 2022 with the ‘Golden Joint’, paving the way for track laying which was completed the following year.

As the project nears its final stages, the anticipation and optimism surrounding the USBRL project are palpable, with expectations that it will significantly transform the Jammu and Kashmir’s transportation landscape.