Train service linking Banihal in Jammu to Qazigund in Kashmir launched
PM Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi flagged off the first train connecting Banihal in Jammu region with Qazigund in Kashmir Valley.
It was the first train to pass through 11 km tunnel through Pir Panchal Range.
About Banihal-Qazigund Rail Service:
The 18-km Banihal-Qazigund section, which includes an 11-km long Pir Panchal Range tunnel, the country’s longest, reduces the 35 km distance to 18 km. It has been constructed at a cost of Rs 1,691 crore. The Udhampur-Banihal section is expected to be completed by 2017 connecting the Valley to the rest of the country round-the-year without any hindrance. The Banihal-Baramulla -Banihal train will make five trips daily beginning from June 27, 2013.
Train service is already operational within Kashmir Valley on the 118-km-long route b/w Qazigund and Baramulla in north Kashmir.
Pir Panchal Tunnel:
It is 11-km tunnel b/w tunnel Banihal-Qazigund section. It is the longest tunnel in the country and has been constructed using New Austrian Tunnelling Method, which has been used for the first time on such a large scale in India. This method optimises the tunnel design by mobilising the inherent ground strength in adopting a curved section, providing primary support system immediately after excavation and monitoring the ground behaviour while allowing it to develop its inherent strength. The tunnel also has a 3 metre wide road for maintenance and emergency rescue and relief operations. The tunnel has been made water-proof by providing continuous PVC membrane b/w primary and secondary lining.