The 9.8 km tunnel connecting two stations on the 111 km under-construction Banihal-Katra railway link in Jammu and Kashmir has been completed, officials said.
It is part of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Railway Line (USBRL) project. This is the third tunnel following the 12.6 km tunnel T-49B, the longest tunnel of Indian Railways, which was completed in January this year.
On August 14, the world's highest rail bridge over the Chenab river in the Kouri area of Reasi district achieved a milestone when the overarch deck of the bridge was completed with a golden joint.
The breakthrough was executed by conducting a blast and with it, the work on the escape tunnel T-13 was started, said the officials engaged in the work.
"We have succeeded in completing the construction work on the tunnel between Dugga and Sawlakote stations in the Katra-Banihal section of the Udhampur Srinagar Baramulla Rail Link (USBRL)," an official said on Monday.
The officials said USBRL is a national project and Indian railways is committed to its time bound completion.
"We completed the 9.8-km-long tunnel today which connects two railway stations located on each side," the official said.
"The Dugga railway station located on its Jammu end has been connected with Basindadar (Sawalkote) railway station towards Srinagar end by completion of this tunnel," the officials said.
"Two out of seven railway stations located in Katra-Banihal section of this railway project have been connected through this tunnel," they said, adding that the work on the tunnel was started in 2018.
Of the 272-km USBRL project, the work on 161 km was commissioned in phases. The first phase of 118-km Qazigund-Baramulla section was commissioned in October 2009, followed by the 18-km Banihal-Qazigund in June 2013 and the 25-km Udhampur-Katra in July 2014.
The under-construction 111-km Katra-Banihal section has a total of 37 bridges and 35 tunnels.