Srinagar, March 29: The operational cost of the Banihal-Baramulla rail link in Jammu and Kashmir would be reduced by 40 percent after electrification of the total length of 137.73 km.
“Electrification will be more economical and its cost would be 40 percent lower when compared to running the railways on diesel,” a senior northern railway official said.
Northern Railways on Monday successfully completed the trial run of the electric train from J&K’s Budgam to Baramulla district.
With a view to providing an alternative and a reliable mass transportation system to Jammu and Kashmir, the Government of India had planned a 345 km-long railway line joining the Kashmir Valley with the country’s railway network.
The Jammu-Udhampur-Katra-Qazigund-Baramulla rail line, a project of great importance for the local populace and the country as a whole, has been declared a ‘National Project’. This project is the most difficult railway line project undertaken in the Indian sub-continent.
The terrain passes through the Himalayas, which are young fold mountains full of geographical surprises, high tectonic activity, and extremely cold weather conditions.
The railway link across the Pir Panchal mountain range from Banihal town in the Jammu region to Baramulla town in Kashmir is 173.73 km. Northern Railways has undertaken the electrification of three main sub-stations at Qazigund, Budgam, and Baramulla from where power will be supplied to the overhead equipment.
The officials of northern railways said that there will be 10 power switching stations in the Banihal-Baramulla section.
“Overhead equipment for the rail line will be supplied with a 25 KV power supply. The transmission substation will be fed by a 132 KV supply from different power grids across J&K.
“Supervisory control and data acquisition system (SCADA) to monitor the traction power distribution will be based at Budgam station.
“We have already approached the J&K administration and the Central government for power supply for electrification of the rail link.
“Electric poles will be erected after every 400-420 meters and it would be more eco-friendly compared to running railways on fuel.
In the first phase, a total of 1,271 electric poles were erected between Budgam and Baramulla stations. Of these, the highest number of 305 poles were erected between Sopore and Baramulla.
Besides, poles were erected between Budgam to Mazhama, Mazhama to Pattan, Pattan to Hamray, and Hamray to Sopore.