The Indian Railway Ministry has just undertaken a project to build the world’s highest railway line that will originate from Delhi and terminate at Leh. The Delhi-Leh railway corridor is set to become the world’s highest railway line at a height of 5,360 metres above sea level. The aim of the railway ministry is to establish India’s technological prowess as well as make Leh a more accessible tourist destination. The corridor will run alongside the Indo-China border and will cross over 170 tunnels and 124 major bridges.
The project is expected to complete by 2022. The railway line is being called the Bilaspur-Manali-Leh line and on its completion, it will improve the connectivity of several important towns of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir such as Mandi, Upshi, Sundernagar, Koksar, Karu, Keylong, Darcha and various others.
A 51 km section of the 465 km railway line, from Phe in Leh to Upshi in Himachal Pradesh, is expected to be finished within two years and cost a whopping 450 crore out of the 84,000 crore project.
Similar to aircraft, the cabin pressure in the coaches of the train will have to be maintained and due to the same, the train coaches will be specifically made for high altitudes. The train is also expected to have oxygen masks for all the passengers.
This railway line will not only work on the connectivity issues of the remote areas, but it is also strategically important because of its location along the Indo-China border.
The railway line will help in increasing tourism in the Leh-Ladakh region and improve the mode of travel for army personnel.
The train will cross through major mountain ranges such as the Himalayas, the Shivaliks and the Zanskar valley. Apart from that, it will also connect important passes around Leh such as Rohtang La, Baralacha La and Tanga La. This route will certainly be a scenic one so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the everlasting beauty. The longest tunnel among the 170 will be 27 km stretch of tunnel which will be made by cutting through a mountain.
A benefit of the line is that it will make commute easy for Army personnel who are stationed at high altitude in the region areas. The railway line will ensure that the travel time from Delhi to Leh will be reduced from 40 hours to a mere 20 hours. Additionally, it will focus on bringing Leh to the mainstream tourism map of India. This in turn will enable Leh to have a better and a faster growing economy, which can lead to the development of the area.
So far, the surveys to construct the lines are underway and it has been decided that Manali, Mandi and Kashmir among others will be connected through the line.