Railways completes arch closure of world’s highest railway bridge over Chenab

Railways has said that it has completed the arch closure of the iconic ‘Chenab Bridge,’ the highest railways in the world over the Chenab River in Srinagar
Railways completes arch closure of world’s highest railway bridge over Chenab

New Delhi: 'Chenab Bridge,' the world's highest railway bridge, part of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail link project (USBRL), set an important construction milestone on Monday with the completion of the steel arch of the iconic Chenab Bridge. "This was one of the most difficult part of the bridge over Chenab. This achievement is a major leap towards the completion of the 111-km-long winding stretch from Katra to Banihal," said the Ministry of Railways in an official statement on Monday. It is arguably the biggest civil-engineering challenge faced by any railway project in India in recent history.

The 5.6-meter last piece of metal was fitted at the highest point on Monday and joined the two arms of the arch that currently stretch towards each other from both the banks of the river. This completed the shape of the arch that will then loom over the treacherous Chenab, flowing some 359 meters below. After the completion of the arch work, removal of the stay cables, filling of the concrete in the arch rib, erection of the steel trestle, launching of the viaduct and track laying work will be taken up.

The completion of the historic arch work was also seen by Union Minister for Railways Piyush Goyal, Indian Railways' Chairman & CEO Suneet Sharma, and Northern Railway's General Manager Ashutosh Gangal through video conferencing.

The arch of the iconic Chenab Bridge

The Railways is constructing a 1,315-metre-long iconic Arch Bridge on River Chenab as a part of the USBRL project to connect the Kashmir valley to the rest of the nation. It is the highest railway bridge in the world being 359 metres above the river bed level and 35 metres higher than the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris (France). The construction of the bridge involved the fabrication of 28,660 MT steel, 10 lakh cum earthwork, 66,000 cum concrete and 26 Km motorable roads. The arch consists of steel boxes. Concrete will be filled in boxes of the arch to improve stability. The overall weight of arch is 10,619 MT. The erection of the members of the arch by overhead cable cranes was done for the first time on Indian Railways. The most sophisticated 'Tekla' software was used for structural detailing. Structural steel suitable for -10°C to 40°C temperature has been used.

Unique features of Chenab Bridge:

  • Bridge designed to withstand high wind speed up to 266 Km/Hour.
  • Bridge designed for blast load in consultation with DRDO for the first time in India.
  • The bridge will remain operational at a restricted speed of 30 Km/Hour even after the removal of one pier/trestle.
  • Bridge designed to bear earthquake forces of highest intensity zone-V in India.
  • First time on Indian Railways, a Phased Array Ultrasonic Testing machine used for testing welds.
  • First time on Indian Railways, NABL accredited lab established at the site for weld testing.
  • Approximately 584-Km welding done to join the different parts of the structure, which is to the tune of the distance between Jammu Tawi to New Delhi.
  • The height of the cable crane's pylon at Srinagar End is 127metres, which is much taller than Qutub Minar (72 metres).
  • Launching of curved viaduct portion done for the first time on Indian Railways using End Launching Method.
  • Extensive health monitoring and warning systems planned through state-of-art instrumentation.

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