INDIA. Assam: On July 2, Rajdhani Express recently completed a trial run from Assam’s Silchar to Vaingaichunpao railway station located in Tamenglong district in Manipur. With railway officials including North-East Frontier (NF) Railway senior PRO Nripen Bhattacharya, and CDO Silchar, Abdul Hakim onboard, the train covered a distance of 11 km and halted at Jiribam railway station in Manipur to witness hoisting of National Flag followed by the National Anthem.
On this occasion, N Biren Singh, The Chief Minister, Manipur, India said, “Historic moment for Manipur as the first trial run of a passenger train from Silchar to Vaingaichunpao in Tamenglong was successfully conducted on Friday.”
North East Frontier (NF) Railway under Indian Railways is planning to begin passenger train services from Vaingaichunpao in Manipur to Silchar, Assam soon. The Vaingaichunpao – Imphal railway line is under construction and once complete, it will be the longest railway tunnel near Imphal.
Salient features of the project
As part of the Government of India’s ‘Act East’ policy, the 111 km long broad gauge railway line project for freight and passenger transport with 149 bridges and 52 tunnels was taken up in 2008 at a cost of Rs 13,809 crore and is projected to be completed by March 2022.
Tunnel Number 12 with a length of 10.280 km, will be the longest tunnel in the Northeast. IIT Kanpur, IIT Roorkee and IIT Guwahati, the Three Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) were roped in for this railway project for technical support. The project is expected to connect Manipur to the rest of the country via the railway network and will also improve the economic situation of the state.
The bridge number 164
The bridge number 164 of this railway line project built over river Ijai, near Noney town, Manipur will be the tallest girder railway bridge of the rail network with a pier height of 141 metres. The length of the bridge will be 703 metres and trains can pass over this bridge at a speed of 120 kmph.
Once complete, the bridge will surpass the existing record of Mala – Rijeka viaduct, Montenegro which is of 139 metres.
The bridge’s piers are constructed using hydraulic augers. The steel girders are pre-fabricated in a workshop and then transported in segments. They are then erected at the site by Cantilever launching scheme.
Challenges in the project
The railway line passes through tough hilly terrain, rivers and densely forested area, so transportation of the construction material, machines, etc. to the construction site was a challenge. Moreover, a battalion of the Territorial Army-119 unit was deployed to ensure safety and security to the workers.
After completion, there are further plans to build a railway line from Imphal to Moreh in the first stage and then from Moreh to Tamukalay in the second stage in Myanmar to form part of the ambitious
Trans – Asian Railway network is a project of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), which aims to create an integrated freight railway network across Asia and Europe. Currently, it spreads across 117,500 km of railway lines catering to 28 member countries.