On the 111 km-long Banihal-Katra stretch of the Udhampur Srinagar Baramulla Rail Link (USBRL) that is still under construction in Jammu and Kashmir, the Indian Railways recently finished a tunnel, which is not any ordinary tunnel. The 12.89 km tunnel is advertised as India’s longest “escape tunnel.”
The tunnel was constructed to make rescue efforts easier in the event of an emergency. According to railway officials, drilling was extremely difficult due to the track’s passage through the Ramban formation of the Himalayas as well as the numerous Chenab River distributaries that cross the alignment, including the Hingni, Khoda, and Kundan nallah.
More than 75% of the laborers employed during the tunnel’s construction came from adjacent villages, bringing about a favorable change in the area’s overall socioeconomic environment.
According to reports, this is the fourth tunnel on the Banihal-Katra road; a 12.75 km tunnel called T-49 was also finished in January of this year. This tunnel was constructed utilizing the New Austrian Tunnelling Approach (NATM), a cutting-edge method of blast and drill operations.
According to a government announcement, the horseshoe-shaped escape tunnel will link tunnel T-50 with the south side of the Sumber station yard. Sumber’s south end is at a height of roughly 1400.5 meters, while the north end is at a height of 1558.84 meters.
According to the railways, Tunnel T-49 is a twin tube tunnel with the main tunnel (12.75 km) and an escape tunnel connected by 33 cross-passages. Out of the 272 km overall length of the USBRL project, 161 km have already been completed and put into service, including the Banihal-Katra segment.
Summary and key highlights about the longest escape tunnel in India:
- To make rescue efforts easier in an emergency, the escape tunnel “T-13” is built.
- The escape tunnel crosses several Chenab River tributaries, including the Khoda, Hingni, Kundan nallah, etc.
- The Tunnel T-49 is a twin tube tunnel that consists of a 12.75 km main tunnel and a 12.895 km escape tunnel that are connected by 33 different cross-passages.
- On the Banihal-Katra route, this tunnel is the fourth one.
- The horseshoe-shaped escape tunnel will link tunnel T-50 with the south side of the Sumber station yard.
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