Indian Railways is moving fast to connect Ladakh with New Delhi through rail Lines by Bilaspur-Manali-Leh broad gauge rail line, the Survey of the first phase is completed. The final location Survey is excepted te be completed in 27 months after which a detailed project report will be finalised. It is the most difficult project undertaken by the Railway. Railways have suggested that construction on a 51 KM stretch between Upshi in Himachal Pradesh and Phe in Leh should begin immediately.
The bilaspur to Leh Railway line is estimated to cost Rs. 83,360 crore for 465KM railway line. It would be the highest railway tracks in the world when complete, its highest point the tracks would be at 5360 metres above sea level. It is comparable only to the Qinghai – Tibet Railway line in Chaina, which is at height of around 2000 metres above sea level.
There would be 30 stations on the new line taking Railways closer to India – Chaina Border in Ladakh. The important locations to be connected en route between Bilaspur and Leh are Sundarnagar, Mandi, Manali, Keylong, Koksar, Darcha, Upshi, and Karu the states of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. This line is excepted to help the armed forces, boost tourism and give a major push to development in Ladakh region. If the railways proposal of it declearing a National project is accepted by the government,the centre would be providing most of the funds making the job easier. Total 465KM length, 52% would go through Tunnel, the longest of which would be 27KM long, total length of the Tunnels would be 244KM. According to the first phase of the Survey the railway line will have 74 Tunnels, 124 major bridges and 396 minor bridges. The railway line connecting Bilaspur with Leh would emerge from Bhanu Palli railway station on the Anandpor Sahib route. It is rugged terrain in an area that is prone to landslides, Oxygen level reduces at this altitude and temperature drops to sub-zero levels.
According to Chief Administrative Officer (Construction) of Northern Railway Alok Kumar, the Bilaspur – Manali – Leh rail line project is more difficult than the one undertaken by the department in Jammu and Kashmir previously. The final location survey is being undertaken at a cost of Rs 457.72 crore, he said. It would be completed in three phase digital evaluation of elevation model, selection of path for better alignment and Geographical survey for Bridge and Tunnel.
When complete trains on Bilaspur – Manali – Leh Line would run of a speed of 75 kmph. It will reduce the distance between Delhi to Leh from the present 40 hours to 20 hours.