India's longest railway tunnel opens to traffic

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JK: Railway tunnel under construction
Srinagar, Oct 15: In what can be termed as a milestone for the Railways, India"s longest railway tunnel on Friday was opened for transportation between two prominent regions in Jammu and Kashmir.

This 10.96 -km-long tunnel will also be the second longest railway tunnel in the entire Asia.
It pierces through the Pir Panjal mountain range in the state. Senior Railway officers from the north-Railway zone and state government officials marked their presence at the opening ceremony.

After the railway service comes into action it is believed that it would reduce the travel distance between Qazigund in Kashmir and Banihal in Jammu by 11 km.

Presently, the train operates only from Qazigund to Baramulla district. Kashmir is yet to get connected to Jammu through train services while work is in progress for the same. The 300-km-long Srinagar-Jammu road remains blocked frequently during winter due to snowfall and landslides which interferes with the movement of passengers from the two prominent cities of the northern state of the country.

The longest railway tunnel, which is aligned straight from north to south, is believed to be 100 per cent water-proof and is also equipped with fire fighting system throughout its length.

Giving details, manager of Hindustan Construction Corporation S Yala said," The construction of the tunnel commenced in November 2005 and was completed in 2011. The total cost of the tunnel was accounted to Rs 391 crore.

The train would take just 6.6 minutes to travel the distance from Banihal in the south side of the mountain to Qazigund in the north side and thus would take passengers from Jammu region to reach areas juxtaposed to Kashmir in just six minutes."

PTI

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