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Chenab Bridge, Indian Railways infrastructural marvel, will become world’s highest rail bridge! 10 facts

Nikita Prasad

Chenab Bridge: India s remarkable engineering feat and the world’s highest railway bridge to open soon! Indian Railways is building the world s tallest railway bridge in the state of Jammu and Kashmir over Chenab river. This arch bridge is being built at a height of 359 metres above the waters of the Chenab river. Astonishingly, the bridge will be taller than Paris’ famous Eiffel Tower! The Chenab river rail bridge is being built over a difficult terrain and Indian Railways is making use of several new techniques and methods for the project. It is expected to be complete by 2019-end. Here are 10 interesting facts about the upcoming Chenab rail bridge:

1. The arch bridge will be 1.315-km-long and is being built at a height of 359 metres above the Chenab river. This makes the bridge 35 metres taller than the Paris s famous Eiffel tower. It will have railway stations at both the terminal ends.

2. The Chenab bridge forms an important link in the 111-km railway line between Katra and Banihal. This segment is a part of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla section of the Kashmir Railway project. The Kashmir rail link project which is 325-km-long is said to be one of the the most expensive stretch out of the entire 66,000-km railway line in India.

3. The area boasts high potential for the tourism sector. There are plans to host additional activities especially for tourists in the region. These recreational activities will include bungee jumping and other such exciting adventure sport events. In addition to this, sightseeing points, trekking routes as well as hotels are also expected to come up in the area for the tourists.

4. Indian Railways plans to install sensors on the bridge to check the wind velocity. Whenever the wind speed will exceed 90 kmph, the signal on the railway track will turn red to stop the train movement.

5. Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is working with Indian Railways to make sure that the Rs 12,000-crore bridge can withstand any major blast in the terrorism-prone region. To boost the safety and security measures, the bridge is being built with 63 mm-thick special blast-proof steel.

6. Designed by consultants from Finland and Germany, the bridge is ‘blast proof’. The concrete pillars of the railway bridge have been designed to withstand explosions. For this, the bridge will include a 14 metre-wide dual carriageway and a 1.2 metre-wide central verge.

7. The arch bridge has been designed in such a way that it can bear earthquake forces of zone V, even though the site falls under zone IV. Zone V is the highest intensity zone in the country.

8. For enhancing safety, a ‘ring of aerial security’ will also be provided to protect the bridge. An online monitoring and warning system will be installed on the bridge for the safety of passengers and trains. Additionally, footpaths and cycle trails will be built adjacent to it.

9. Making steel as an inclusive material will prove to be more economical as it can take temperatures as low as -20 degrees Celsius. This will be a crucial aspect, given the location of the bridge. Steel can also resist speeds of above 250 kmph as well. For the construction of the bridge, 24,000-plus tonnes of steel will be utilized.

10. In order to reach the site of the bridge, Indian Railways had to build around 22 km of roads. For inspection and maintenance purposes, a ropeway is also being installed on the bridge.