With a lot of hope and excitement, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi, chairperson of UPA, inaugurated a new train service and India's longest transportation tunnel in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K). The train service will run between Qazigund (Kashmir) and Banihal (Jammu). Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah were among the other dignitaries present at the inauguration.
Notably, this train link also includes a tunnel that is 11 km in length, making it the longest in India and second longest in Asia. The Jawahar Road tunnel is around 440 metres above this newly inaugurated train tunnel. This tunnel has been made using the New Austrian Tunnelling Method (NATM), which has been put to use on a large scale for the first time in the country. The construction of this rain link involved 1300 workers, 150 engineers and a colossal investment of Rs. 1700 Crores. Needless to say, the benefits it will give to people living in the state of J&K along with others who want to visit. Of all the advantages, considerable reduction in the time taken and comfortable travelling during the winter season are the most noteworthy.
According to an official of HCC, the company behind the implementation of this project, the entire team had to go through a lot of difficulties and barriers in order to complete this huge task. Incredibly, the company managed to maintain a zero accident record in the seven years that this project took to complete. This link also opens up the opportunity of connecting the region of Kashmir to the national rail network.