Pir Panjal Railway Tunnel
Length and elevation
The average elevation of the 11.215 km long railway tunnel is 1,760 m (5,770 ft) or about 440 m (1,440 ft) below the existing road tunnel, the Jawahar Tunnel, which is at elevation of about 2,100 m (6,900 ft). It is India's longest and Asia's third longest railway tunnel.
Progress of the project
The new 11.215 km (7 mile) long Banihal-Qazigund tunnel for the Kashmir Railway line connecting Bichleri Valley of Banihal with Qazigund area of Kashmir Valley has been constructed. The boring was completed in October 2011, its lining and laying of rail tracks was completed in the next one year and trial run commenced at the end of 2012. Commercial runs may start in early 2013. The rail tunnel reduces the distance between Quazigund and Banihal by 17 km (from 35 km by road to 17.5 km by train).
The tunnel’s average elevation at 1,760 m (5,770 ft) is 440 m (1,440 ft) below the existing road tunnel. The rail tunnel will facilitate transportation during winters when inclement weather forces closure of the road tunnel and Srinagar-Jammu highway. Pir Panjal Railway Tunnel is India's longest and Asia's third longest railway tunnel (28 km long Taihang Tunnel in China is the longest and 21 km long Wushaoling Tunnel in Gansu, China is the second longest). Until the Udhampur-Banihal section of Kashmir railway gets constructed in another five years in 2018, people can travel to Banihal by road and take the train to Srinagar from Banihal.
- "India's longest railway tunnel unveiled in Jammu & Kashmir". The Times of India. October 14, 2011. Retrieved October 14, 2011.
- "Railways’ Himalayan Blunder". Tehelka Magazine, Vol 8, Issue 32. Dated 13 Aug 2011.