Char Dham Rail Tunnel
The MEIL has crossed numerous milestones across various industrial arenas along its three-decade journey and has always braced up for grueling challenges. One such backbreaking feat is the construction of the Rishikesh-Karnaprayag railway line.
The Himalayas, best known for enduring snow-covered mountains, gigantic glaciers, and bli ssful spiritual spaces, also are home to treacherous locations. Despite poor road and railway connectivity in the region, the Char Dham, the most auspicious pilgrimage in Uttarakhand, attracts pilgrims from all corners of the world around the year.
Easing pilgrims’ travel woes, the Central Government decided to construct a strategic broad-gauge railway line to boost connectivity among the four pilgrim centres – Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri.
The Project Overview
The MEIL has undertaken the construction of two crucial segments of the broad-gauge railway line between Rishikesh and Karnaprayag of Uttarakhand. The Rishikesh-Karnaprayag railway line project for Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) aims at connecting the remote holy places around the Char Dham pilgrimage and promoting tourism and economic development in the region. Upon completion, the travel time between Rishikesh and Karnaprayag will reduce to two hours from the present seven hours.
The MEIL is constructing two crucial segments, segment – 7B and segment 8, totalling 22.4 km of the broad gauge line. The segment - 7B consisting of 9.4 km long tunnel and includes one major bridge. The segment - 8 includes a 13-km-long tunnel and three major bridges. The 22-km-stretch will pass through Narkota, Sumerpur, Tilani in Rudra Prayag district and Gholtier and Gaucher in Chamoli districts of Uttarkhand. The Proposed 125 km long Rishikesh – Karnaprayag railway broad-gauge line will pass through Devprayag, Srinagar, Rudraprayag, Dehradun, Tehri Gadwal, Paudi Gadwal, and Chamoli pilgrimage centres.
In the segment – 8, the 13-km-long tunnel, T-14, being constructed by the company will be the country’s longest railway tunnel, between Rudra Prayag and Lachimoli. In the segment -7, the main tunnel, T-13, is about 9,381 metres long, and a parallel escape tunnel of similar length is also under construction.
The company’s scope of work includes the construction of tunnels, bridges and two box culverts and a 35-metre-long steel Road Over Bridge (ROB), 12 railway station yards in-between Sumerpur and Gaucher at an altitude of over 800 m within the stretch.
The MEIL has collaborated on this prestigious project and completed 12.5-km of work in both the segments as of April 20, 2023. It is a milestone given the region’s arduous geography.
To address and efficiently resolve the many challenges this region faces, the Government of India set up this route. Unfortunately, due to the mountainous terrain, regular landslides occur and also the sub-zero temperatures make shifting machinery and raw material difficult. However, the MEIL strives to complete the project on time.