The chief commissioner of railways safety (CCRS) after inspecting Qazigund-Banihal rail link tunnel on Tuesday conducted a trial run on Wednesday. The rail link is scheduled to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on June 25.
According to reports, to pave the way for inauguration of the section by the Prime Minister and subsequent chugging of the trains, commissioner of railway safety (CRS) RK Kardam along with other railway team conducted statutory inspection of Banihal-Qazigund section of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail link on Tuesday. To inspect the track, the team boarded rail trolley at 2.30pm from Srinagar and reached Qazigund at 8pm.
Reports from railway sources said: "The CCRS team after carrying inspection of the route on Tuesday conducted a trial run of eight-bogie train on the track on Wednesday from Banihal to Qaziqund at 2.30pm successfully. The railways public relations officer said they would submit the inspection report to high-ups in Delhi after which clearance will be given for chugging of train on the track.
The much-awaited railway section linking the Kashmir Valley with the rest of country will be thrown open on June 25 when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi jointly flag off the first train. The 18-km-long section between Banihal in Jammu and Qazigund in Kashmir will provide an all-weather surface link to the Valley that often gets snapped due to snowfall during winters.
The section, which includes an 11-km-long tunnel, named T-80, the longest of its kind in South Asia, will reduce the distance from 35 km to 18 km. It has been constructed at a cost of Rs 1,691 crore.
Sources said all the systems in the tunnel like CCTV cameras and emergency call system have been interconnected and there will be automatic operation of equipment (ventilation, lighting, public address system etc).
The control centre will ensure monitoring of equipment by tunnel operators round the clock, visualisation of equipment's status on screens, monitoring by CCTVs, automatic and manual handling of alarms (fire and SOS) and communication with rescue teams, maintenance staff and people in tunnel.
The trial run on this section was successfully done on December 28 last year and since then trains carrying stones are running on regular basis. At present, passengers travelling between Banihal and Qazigund face problem during the winter months when the Jawahar Tunnel remains closed due to heavy snowfall. All these problems will be reduced to a large extent with the starting of train services between Banihal-Qazigund.