Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) achieved a major breakthrough by day-lighting India’s longest railway tunnel constructed in the rugged Pir Panjal Mountains in Jammu & Kashmir. The project is a part of Udhampur-Srinagar Baramulla rail link project of Northern Railways. The total length of the tunnel is 10.96 kilomters making it India’s longest and Asia’s 2nd longest railway tunnel. The Pir Panjal tunnel will reduce the distance between Quazigund & Banihal to only 11 km.
The 10.96 kms tunnel, which is aligned straight from north to south, is 100% water-proof and is also equipped with fire fighting system throughout its entire length.
The total cost of the construction project is estimated to be around Rs. 391 crore. The engineering work involved constructing a tunnel 8.405 meter wide and 7.393 meter tall. The work also included construction of 3m wide road along the railway line throughout the tunnel for maintenance and emergency evacuation. HCC used New Australian Tunneling Methodology (NATM) for construction of this tunnel. The project was made challenging by changing geological strata of the young Himalayan rock and snowfall (at temperature -10°C) during winter. The Pir Panjal tunnel passes 440m below the existing Jawahar Road Tunnel.