Double track boon for bridge

More trains between Patna & north

By Amit Bhelari in Patna
  • Published 15.10.16
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Digha-Sonepur rail-cum-road bridge

Patna, Oct. 14: The railways has decided to double the track passing over the Digha-Sonepur rail-cum-road bridge over the Ganga.

The single-track bridge provides train services between Patna and north Bihar districts across river Ganga.

The doubling of tracks will be done from Patliputra Junction to Pahleja Junction at an estimated cost of Rs 156.09 crore. On February 3, 2016, the first passenger train had passed through this bridge.

East Central Railway (ECR) chief public relations officer Arvind Kumar Rajak said: "The Railway Board has sanctioned the doubling of the Patliputra-Pahleja section with electrification at Rs 156.09 crore. Soon railway engineers will visit the site for inspection and work will start, which will take at least two years."

The railways will execute the doubling and electrification work on the 11-km stretch.

Once doubling is complete, it would be boon for residents travelling from state capital to north Bihar.

The proposal to construct this bridge was mentioned in the Union budget of 1997-98 and at that time, the estimated cost was Rs 600 crore but the expenses have now touched Rs 3,080 crore.

Work on this project was started in 2002 and a road deck was added to the bridge in 2006 when Lalu Prasad was the railway minister.

Though the train service was started in February this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had formally inaugurated the service from Vaishali on March 12.

The road deck is still not ready for use because the approach road has not yet been constructed on the Digha and Sonepur sides. Opening the road deck will reduce pressure on the dilapidated Gandh Setu, which at present is the only bridge across river Ganga connecting Patna with north Bihar districts.

The road construction department has handed over the construction of the approach road to its two wings - Bihar State Road Development Corporation (BSRDC) and Bihar Rajya Pul Nirman Nigam Ltd (BRPNNL). BSRDC is looking after the approach road on the south that is the Patna side and BRPNN after the one on the north side that is Sonepur side (Saran).

Fourteen pairs of trains pass through the bridge and once doubling is done, more trains will be added on this route, thus reducing the dependence of commuters on Gandhi Setu, which witnesses frequent snarls.

Even several express trains pass through the bridge and track doubling will further enhance the utility of the bridge.

Some important trains taking the bridge include Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express (12423/12424), Guwahati-Anand Vihar North East Express (12505/12506), Guwahati Anand Vihar Poorvottar Sampark Kranti Express (12501/12502), Jogbani Anand Vihar Seemanchal Express (12487/12488) and Lokmanya Tilak Kamakhya AC Express (12519/1250).

The opening of the bridge has already reduced pressure on three major railway stations - Patna Junction, Danapur railway station and Rajendra Nagar Terminal.

The 4.5-km Digha-Sonepur bridge, inaugurated on February 3, 2002, by then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee from a function at Gandhi Maidan, is the longest bridge of Indian Railways over the Ganga.

The railways has also sanctioned a halt station between Ashok Rajpath and Patliputra Junction at an estimated cost of Rs 2.45 crore.