Bilaspur–Manali–Leh line is a proposed high-elevation all-weather 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) broad gauge railway track that is planned to connect Bilaspur in Himachal Pradesh to Leh in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir.
In a few years’ time, tourists in India can visit Leh all-year-round all thanks to the Indian railways plan of putting together a 498 kilometre-long railway line from Bilaspur to Leh.
The survey for the project had been done and presently it is seeking approval of the planning commission of India and while railway minister assured about early clearance of this project. According to the survey report, cost of construction of this 498 km (309 mi) long all weather broad gauge railway line has been calculated at Rs 22,831 crore with a negative rate of return of 4.46%.
Here are the few things you need to know about the Proposed World’s Highest Rail Track at Leh:
- Bilaspur–Manali–Leh line is a proposed high-elevation all-weather 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) broad gauge railway track that is planned to connect Bilaspur in Himachal Pradesh to Leh in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir state, the strategically important rail project is touted to become the highest rail track in the world, overtaking China’s Qinghai Tibet Railway.
- It would link to the Indian railway network via an extension of the Kangra Valley Railway to Mandi, which would be converted to 1,676 mm(5 ft 6 in) broad gauge.
- The all-weather Leh rail network is one of the four important railway connectivities identified by the defence ministry along the China border.
- The proposed new rail line will connect all important locations between Bilaspur and Leh namely Sunder Nagar Mandi, Manali, Tandi, Keylong, Koksar, Darcha, Upshi and Karu.
- Apart from strategic considerations, the line connecting Bilaspur in Himachal Pradesh to Leh in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir is expected to give immense “socio-economic benefits” to the region, including tourism.
- The Bilaspur-Manali-Leh line is along Himachal-J&K border and the last three lines along Assam-Arunachal border.
Read also: Read about Maharaja who first explored the possibility of a railway line connecting Jammu with Srinagar
- Once the Bilaspur-Manali-Leh railway line is completed, Leh will be directly connected to Himachal Pradesh and the rest of India by railway.
- Personnel and equipment will be transported more easily to the strategic military base of Leh with the commissioning of the line.
- The distance between Bilaspur and Leh will be about 500 km (310 mi). When the railway lines to Bilaspur and then to Leh are completed, the time taken to reach Leh from Delhi will be reduced to less than two days compared to about four days by the existing highway from Manali.