Adding to the array of India’s ground-breaking records, India is gearing up to construct a railway line on Bilaspur-Manali-Leh that will become the world’s highest railway line.

The Indian Railways’ 465 km Bilaspur-Manali-Leh rail line project has been inked at Rs 83,360 crore and the construction of world’s highest point rail route will be started soon. The rail line is located at 5360 meters above sea level and will bring down the travel time from Delhi to Leh – to just half, with 20 hours of journey. The 51 km Upshi-Peh section will be completed in 2 years at cost of Rs 5,000 crore and will facilitate the connectivity to all the checkpoints like Manali, Sundernagar, Upshi, Karu etc. between Bilaspur and Leh.

A total of 74 tunnels, 124 and 396 major and minor bridges, respectively along the entire route, are surveyed in the first phase and Himachal Pradesh’s Keylong will be the first under-tunnel railway station. Along with the rail line, the transport coaches are also of significance as the build quality will be maintained to suit the high altitude weather conditions. Oxygen masks for each passenger in the cabins, like that in airlines, and provisions to maintain in-cabin pressure will be made.

The strategic project along the Indo-China Border, once proposed as a national project by Railway Ministry, is aimed to be operational by 2022. Besides this, three similar projects: North Lakhimpur-Bame (Along)-Silapathar line, Missamari-Tenga-Tawang line, and Pasighat-Tezu-Parsuram Kund-Rupai line are intended to fortify the Indo-China border. The train will facilitate the Indian Army to carry out easy transport of heavy payloads and weaponry, and also boost up the tourism industry in the region.