Railways to electrify Kashmir rail line

In its endeavour for electrification of the 137-kilometre Banihal-Baramulla rail link in next two years, the Northern Railways has started erecting electric poles along the track from Budgam to Baramulla.

Senior Railways officials told the Greater Kashmir that simultaneously digging work is underway between Qazigund and Budgam stations.

“Depending on the weather, erecting the poles between Budgam to Baramulla might take next one month,” Saqib Yousuf, Chief Area Manager said.

Another railway official said the overhead electrification, for which some work was started in June 2019, has a stipulated completion period of two years till June 2021. It may be recalled that tenders for the project were released two years ago but full-fledged work has started only now.

“The total route length for electrification is 137.73 kilometres with three main substations of Qazigund, Budgam and Baramulla from where power will be supplied to the overhead equipment of the rail line,” the official said. He said there would be 10 power switching stations in Banihal-Baramulla section.

“The overhead equipment of the rail line will be supplied with 25 KV power supply. Besides, the transmission substation will be fed by a 132 KV supply from different power grids,” the official said.

The Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition System (SCADA) “to monitor the traction power distribution” will be based at Budgam station, he said.

As per officials, the Railways has approached J&K administration and central government for power supply for electrification of the rail link.

“Electrification will be more economical and is 40 per cent lower than when compared to running the railways on diesel,” said the official.

He said the electric poles would be erected after every 400-420 meters and it would be more eco-friendly compared to running railways on fuel.

As per officials, in the first phase, a total number of 1271 electric poles would be erected between Budgam and Baramulla stations. Of these, the highest number of 305 poles will be erected between Sopore and Baramulla. Besides, poles will be erected between Budgam to Mazhom, Mazhom to Pattan, Pattan to Hamre and Hamre to Sopore, officials said.

It may be recalled that Kashmir got its first train service in 2013 when it was inaugurated by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.