In 1989 I had gone to Keylong for a trek. We reached Manali, walked upto Rohtang and then descended on the other side to Keylong via Koksar. It was a memorable trip for me. Mobility in this highly sensitive and security wise critical region was very tough.
So it is very heartening to note that the Indian government has now created a system of tunnels, bridges and transportation by railways etc to ensure that not only can civilian move around, but so can the defense forces. A railway line – Bilaspur-Manali-Leh line – has been created which connects Sundernagar, Mandi, Manali, Keylong, Koksar, Darcha, Upshi and Karu apart from other places in Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. The whole project includes 74 tunnels, 124 major bridges and 396 minor bridges.
But what is most fascinating is that a railway station will be built within the station at Keylong – at a height of 3,000 metres inside a 27 km long tunnel!
“The Keylong station, in the project, will be inside the tunnel according to the first phase of the location survey. This will be the first such railway station in the country. As and when the final surveys are completed, there could be many such stations on the route,” D R Gupta, chief engineer construction, Northern Railway, told PTI.
This project is being built at a heigh ot 5360 metres above sea level. The only other equivalent is the Qinghai-Tibet railway line in China, which is at the height of 2000 metres.
With this line the travel time between Delhi and Leh will come down from 40 hours to 20 hours. The final survey for the entire line will be completed in 30 months.
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