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Proposed Bilaspur-Leh train will have high-altitude coaches, doctors

The Indian Railways, which is set to execute its toughest project till date, has begun discussion on special coaches for the world’s highest railway line, which will run at an elevation of 5,360 metres above the sea level.

india Updated: Oct 28, 2018 23:48 IST
Faizan Haidar
Faizan Haidar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
train,Indian Railways,high-altitude coach
The railways will study specification of coaches used in the Qinghai-Tibet line in China, before manufacturing these coaches. The Qinghai-Tibet line is at an elevation of 2,000 metres above sea level.(HT/Picture for representation)

The proposed Bilaspur-Manali-Leh rail line, to be completed by 2022, will have coaches specially built for high altitude with oxygen mask for every passenger and a doctor on call in every coach.

The Indian Railway, which is set to execute its toughest project till date, has begun discussion on special coaches for the world’s highest railway line, which will run at an elevation of 5,360 meters above the sea level.

The railways will study specification of coaches used in the Qinghai-Tibet line in China, before manufacturing these coaches. The Qinghai-Tibet line is at an elevation of 2,000 metres above sea level.

“The coaches have to be pressurised and the line won’t have sleeper class. Since temperatures will fall below freezing point, there will be heaters in every coach. The discussion is at preliminary stage but this will be some of the main requirement for trains running on this line,” said Desh Ratan, chief engineer of the project.

The railway is also working to tackle challenges like landslides, cloud bursts and avalanche to keep the service running.

“We will have equipments to clear snow immediately. Since 50% of the track will be underground, we are not expecting interruption even during extreme weather. Even if the need arises to close the section, it will not be for more than 2-3 hour,” said another railway official, who is part of the project, on condition of anonymity.

The proposed Bilaspur-Manali-Leh line will be built at a cost of Rs 83,360 crore, will include India’s first underground railway station in Keylong. The proposed alignment passes through the Shivaliks, Himalayas and the Zanskar range and four mountain passes — Rohtang La, Barlacha La, Lachung La and Tangla La.

The project will include 74 tunnels, 124 major bridges and 396 minor bridges, according to the first phase of the survey done for the project. The railways wants the strategic line, to be completed by 2022, along the Indo-China border to be declared a national project.

The railways is also seeking the help of the US for satellite imagery to survey the route and will also use the Lidar method for an understanding of the geology of the entire route.

First Published: Oct 28, 2018 23:48 IST