Northern Railway Construction Organization
(USBRL Project)
April 1, 2023


J & K Project Brief

Alignment Plan- USBRL Project

1. Background :

  • Project –Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramula Rail Link Project(USBRL)

  • Length – 272 Km.
With a view to provide an alternative and a reliable transportation system to Jammu & Kashmir, Govt. of India planned a 272 Km. long Railway Line from Udhampur to Baramulla joining the Kashmir valley with the Indian Railways network under Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail link Project (USBRL). This project has been the most challenging works undertaken post-independence by Indian Railways. In view of importance of USBRL project in providing seamless and hassle-free connectivity, the Project was declared as “National Project” in 2002. The alignment of USBRL involves construction of a large number of Tunnels and Bridges in highly rugged and mountainous terrain with most difficult and complex Himalayan geology.
This Project involves 38 Tunnels (combined length of 119Km), the longest Tunnel (T-49) is having a length of 12.75 Km and is country's longest transportation tunnel. There are 927 nos. of Bridges (combined length of 13 Km). These bridges include the iconic Chenab Bridge (Overall length 1315 m, Arch span of 467 m and height of 359 m above river bed) which will be the highest railway bridge in the world. Indian railway's first cable stayed bridge is also being constructed on Anji Khad.

2. Sections Completed

  1. The work on Jammu-Udhampur section (55 Km) has been completed and opened to public by Hon’ble Prime Minister in Apr’05.
  2. The work on Quazigund - Baramulla section (118 Km) has also been completed and section has been opened to public in three phases. The section from Anantnag to Mazhom (68 KM) was opened to the public by the Hon’ble Prime Minister on 11/10/08. The section from Mazhom to Baramulla (32 KM) was inaugurated and dedicated to the nation on 14.02.09.The section from Quazigund to Anantnag (18 km) was opened to the public by the Hon’ble Prime Minister on 28/10/09.
  3. The section from Quazigund to Banihal (18 Km) involving Pir Panjal Tunnel, the longest transportation tunnel in India of total 11.215 Km length has also been opened to the Public by the Hon’ble Prime Minister on 26.06.2013. The block section from Quazigund to Banihal is a part of Katra-Quazigund section of the project, wherein the alignment passes through the world’s most difficult terrain, both in terms of logistic and geological strata.
  4. Udhampur – Katra which is 25 Km long has been opened to traffic by Hon’ble Prime Minister on 4th July 2014.

3. Salient features of USBRL Project

The length from Udhampur to Baramulla is 272 km and has been divided into  
 four sections. The salient features of these sections are as under:

Table 1  Salient Features of USBRL Project



Katra- Banihal

Banihal- Quazigund

Quazigund – Baramulla


Route Length (Km)






Ruling Gradient

1 in 100 (C )

1 in 80 (C )

1 in 100 (C )

1 in 100 (C )


Max Curvature






Bridges (Total)






Important bridges






Major Bridges






Minor Bridges






Max. height of bridge (m)






Length of bridges (m)






Longest span

154 m Steel Girder(Jhajjar)

467 m steel arch (Chenab)

45 m Steel Girder

45 m Steel Girder


Tunnel (No.)






Tunnel Length (Km)






Main Tunnel






Escape Tunnel






% Length in Tunnel

44 %

87 %

62 %


44 %

Longest Tunnel (Km)






Jammu- Udhampur - 20 % length in tunnels
Udhampur- Katra - 44% length in tunnels
Katra-Banihal - 87 % length in Tunnels
Banihal - Quazigund - 62% length in tunnels
Quazigund-Baramulla - Nil


4.0 Present Status of the Project:

For the purpose of execution /monitoring , the work has been sub divided into the following four legs :-

  • Leg-1 : Udhampur –Katra (25 KM -Work completed and section  commissioned in July-2014.
  • Leg-2 : Katra- Banihal (111 KM) – Work in progress
  • Leg-3: Banihal –Quazigund ( 18KM)  -Work completed and section  commissioned in June 2013.
  • Leg-4: Quazigund –Baramulla (118 KM) - -Work completed and section  commissioned in three phases, last phase commissioned in Oct. -2009.

This Project is, perhaps, the most difficult new railway line project undertaken on Indian subcontinent. The terrain passes through young Himalayas, which are full of geological surprises and numerous problems. The execution of the work in the balanced portion between the Katra and Banihal (111 KM) has been divided among three agencies as under:-

  • Northern Railway – 5 Km.
  • KRCL           -    53 Km
  • IRCON         -    53 Km.

5.0 Status of works on Katra -Banihal Section (111 Km)
Presently Katra - Banihal section is the missing link to connect Kashmir Valley to rest of India through the vast Indian Railway network. The status of progress of works on this section is as under:

Summary of Progress: Katra- Banihal Section

6. Status of Mega Bridges /Tunnels:

S.No. Activity
Executed Upto 30.11.2022
Balance as on 01.12.2022
1 (a) Main Tunnel (Mining)
97.64 Km
96.65 Km
0.83 Km
1 (b) Escape Tunnel (Mining)
66.40 Km
65.76 Km
0.64 Km
2. Major Bridges
26 nos
20 nos
06 ( work in progress)
3. Minor Bridges
11 nos
11 nos
4.. Access roads
205 Km.
205 Km

a) Chenab bridge on River Chenab

The iconic Chenab bridge is being constructed in Reasi district of Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir under the most challenging Udampur- Sringar- Baramulla- Rail-link project (USBRL) Project of Indian Railways. The bridge is about 111 km by Road from Jammu on ongoing Katra- Banihal section.


Fig1 : Key Plan of the Bridge

This iconic bridge across the river Chenab having central span of 467 m is being built at a height of 359m from the bed level (Height of QutabMinar is 72 m and of Eiffel Tower is 324 m). This is the Highest railway bridge on the globe being constructed. For construction of Arch portion of bridge over the river, a novel method of construction using the cable car is designed and commissioned. Two number of cable cars having capacity of 20 MT each and 37 MT in tandem runs on 54mm cables laid across the river valley and connected through 127 m high pylon (tower) on Kauri end & 105 m on Bakkal end of the river.
The Chenab bridge will usher in fresh era in J&K due to Increased employment opportunities for the youth, improved infrastructure due to construction of access roads, Better facilities for students to travel to other parts of the country for educational purposes, Boost to tourist industry, connectivity of far flung areas to mainstream of country and overall economic development of the state. Remotely located Villages at kauri and Bakkalends of construction sites, which until now have no vehicular means to travel to Reasi district and other places , have started enjoying fruits of development brought about by construction of black topped approach roads in region. Infact, A window of worldful of opportunities has opened up to local population of the region.

A. Salient Features of Chenab Bridge:

1. Total No of Spans 17 Nos.
2. Overall length 1315 m
3. Single Arch Span 467 m
4. Bridge Deck height above river bed level      359 m
5. Max Height of Steel Pier 130.855 m
6. Max Height of Concrete Pier 49.343 m
7. Max. Ht. of Concrete Pier 49.343 meters
8. Maximum designed Wind Speed 266 kmph

B. Status of Chenab Bridge construction:
• Earthwork in excavation completed.
• All foundations of Chenab Bridge (18 Nos) & substructure completed.
• Launching of 490m deck (superstructure) on transition & circular curve from Kauri end of Chenab Bridge has been successfully completed.
• Fabrication work in progress.
• All Fabrication works for Piers, trestles & arch completed.

b) Anji Bridge:
Construction of Anji Bridge is extremely difficult and an Engineering challenge. Although, it is smaller in comparison to Chenab Bridge, but it is also an important bridge on this section and after construction, it will be 195m above the river bed and main span across steep slope of Anji Khad River will be 290 mtrs. AnjiKhad Bridge is country's "first cable-stayed bridge" on Indian Railways.

The bridge is located in the young fold mountains of Himalayas having extremely complex, fragile and daunting geological features in the form of faults, folds and thrusts and besides seismic proneness of the region. Detailed site specific investigations were carried out by IIT, Roorkee and IIT Delhi. Slopes of the mountain supporting one foundation of main span have been stabilised by a special hybrid foundation on Katra end due to space constraints. The major portion of the bridge works including Main Pylon with 40m deep Hybrid foundation, Central Embankment and Ancillary Viaduct were carried out on Srinagar end.
For ease of construction and keeping in view the typical site conditions, this bridge has been divided into 3 parts:
• 120 m long approach viaduct (called “ancillary viaduct”) on Reasi side.
• Main bridge, crossing the deep valley (473.25m cable stayed portion).
• Central embankment (94.25m), located between the main bridge and an approach (ancillary) viaduct.

AnjiKhad Bridge connects tunnel T2 and T3 on the Katra-Banihal Section of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link project. AnjiKhad Bridge has a single main pylon of height 193m from the top of foundation, standing at a height of 331 metres above the river bed. The total length of Bridge is 687m consisting of Main Bridge having the length of 473.25 metres, Ancillary viaduct of 120 metres length and the central embankment of 94.25 metres length. It is an asymmetrical cable-stayed bridge balanced on the axis of a central pylon. The Total deck Width of Bridge is 15m.

Various unique techniques and equipments are being used like DOKA JumpformShuttering .Pump Concreting System to increase efficiency, providing higher safety for workers and for saving construction time. State of the art Tower crane, make 'COMANSA'(imported from Spainof 40 T capacity with extentendable height up to 205 mtrs is being used for enhancing the construction activities for heights upto 193m. Status report of the bridge: The Ancillary viaduct portion has been completed. Central Embankment has been completed. Sub-Structure Completed. Main Pylon will be 193 M when completed.

c) Brige no 43: Launching of super structure of Mega Bridge no. 43 having length of 777m with span arrangement (1*35+1*53+ 10*64+1*49) is under progress

Bridge No 39: Launching of superstructure of Mega bridge no. 39 having length of 490m with span arrangement of 1x53.15 + 6 x 64 + 1x 53.15 meters is under progress

7. Tunneling
• USBRL Project involves construction of nearly 186 km tunneling works (38 Main Tunnels and 8 Escape tunnels)of which 122 km is Main tunnel and 66 km escape tunnel.The escape tunnel is for rescue and restoration work and is provided parallel to the main tunnels exceeding 3 km in length.
• 97 Km out of 111 Km (i.e. 87%) of length of Katra-Banihal section is in tunnels.
• 66 Km Of Escape Tunnels are Also Being Constructed as relief and rescue measures as per international standards( first time on Indian Railways )
• In Katra- Banihal section, very long tunnels are being constructed and 5 tunnels are having length more than 8km.
• At present the Longest transportation tunnel (11.215 km) Pirpanjal Tunnel in the country has been completed and commissioned between Banihal and Quazigund.
• However, tunnel T-49 which is under construction is 12.75 km long and once completed will surpass the above Pirpanjal Tunnel.






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