Indian Railways is planning to build the world’s highest railway line at 5,360 metres above sea level along the India-China border. The 465-km long Bilaspur-Manali- Leh line will connect four mountain passes – Rohtang la, Barlacha la, Lachung la and Tangla la.
World’s Highest Railway Line
According to a report in The Hindustan Times, the project will begin from 500 m elevation in Bilaspur, ending in Leh at 3,215 m. The highest elevation will be at Tangla la Pass at 5,360 m and half of the lines will be laid underground.
The location survey of the first phase has been completed but the survey for the final location will take at least two more years. A detailed project report on the world’s highest railway line will then be finalised and sent for approval.
The survey states that the railway line will include 74 tunnels, 124 major bridges and 396 minor bridges with an estimated cost of Rs 83,360 crore. The Ministry of Railways is expected to complete the project by 2022.
Railway officials have suggested that the strategic line be declared as a national project.
Work on the 51-km Upshi-Leh stretch is expected to be taken up first and is likely to be completed in two years.
- The rail line is comparable to the Chinese Qinghai-Tibet Railway Line with a height of around 2,000 m.
- Keylong station in Himachal Pradesh will be India’s first railway station inside a tunnel.
- With a total of 30 stations, more than half of the train route would be covered through tunnels. The longest tunnel would be 27 km long. Total length of the tunnels will be 244 km.
- The railway line will reduce the travelling time between Delhi and Leh to half, from the current 40 hours to 20 hours.
- Ministry of Railways plans to use advanced techniques such as photogrammetry, drone survey, and digital elevation models for the project.