Banihal-Katra railway link: Digging work completed on T-14 tunnel

The Northern Railway on Friday achieved yet another major milestone by breaking through T-14 tunnel between Sangaldan and Sawalkote stations on the 111-km under-construction Banihal-Katra railway link in Jammu and Kashmir, officials said.

Engineers and workers faced several challenges in the course of construction in such a shear zone, encountering flammable gases (methane), perched aquifer, highly jointed rock mass and high ingress of water, they said.

The officials said the digging work has been completed on the 6.284-kilometer tunnel between Sangaldan and Sawalkote station.

The breakthrough ceremony was done by a woman employee, Indu Paul Kaur of Awantipora in Kashmir, an engineer in IRCON, they said.

Shobhan Chaudhuri, General Manager, Northern Railway, said a major milestone was achieved by execution of breakthrough of T-14 main tunnel between Sawalkote and Sangaldan stations on the under-construction Katra-Banihal section.

“T-14 is a tunnel of length 6.284 km and the ends are located in two districts of Reasi and Ramban,” he said.

The tunnel portals are located in remotest villages of Reasi and Ramban with no road connectivity prior to the start of tunnel construction, Chaudhuri said.

The south portal of tunnel T-14 is located in Sawalkote village in Arnas tehsil, at a distance of 100 kilometre from the district headquarters of Reasi, at an altitude of 1,070 meters, while the north portal of the tunnel is located in Ind village of Gool tehsil in Ramban, at an altitude of 1,150 meters, the official said.

He said the T-14 tunnel has two tubes — the main tunnel and the escape tunnel. The tunnel has been constructed using NATM (New Austrian Tunneling Method) methodology, which is an observational and sequential construction method, Chaudhuri added.

Out of 272-km length of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link (USBRL) project, 161-km has already been commissioned and operationalized, the officials said.

The work on 111-km stretch between the Katra-Banihal section traverses through hilly terrain of lower Himalayas, in which geology is a major challenge, they said.

The officials said the tunnel passes through complex geological conditions composing Murree formation at south end and Dolomite at north end, separated by Subathu formation.