Pir Panjal tunnel to open in March

Last Updated: Sun, Dec 30, 2012 12:40 hrs

New Delhi, Dec 30 (IANS) Come March, India's longest tunnel -- the 11.2-km rail tunnel connecting Kashmir Valley to Jammu region across the Pir Panjal mountain range -- will be thrown open for the railways, an official of the company associated with the project said Sunday.

The trial run of a train from Qazigund Railway Station in the Valley's Anantnag district to Banihal town in Jammu was successfully completed Friday.

"We had the first trial run across the 18 km stretch Dec 28. T-80 will be country's longest tunnel and is expected to be formally operational in March 2013," Hitesh Khanna, director works at IRCON told reporters here.

It will take a train about 30 minutes to cover the distance.

The construction of the tunnel started in August 2008 and the task was completed in December 2012 with a cost of Rs.1,172 crore.

"It will be the longest tunnel in the country on the highest broad gauge," Khanna said.

The Pir Panjal mountain range was always a barrier between the Kashmir Valley and Jammu region but it has been removed with the construction of the tunnel, he added.

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