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July 20, 2024
India's highest rail bridge

India's highest rail bridge

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India’s highest rail bridge built in J&K- Amazing facts

Rail transport is one of the major means of transport that transfers passengers and goods on wheeled vehicles running on tracks. The railway system in Great Britain is the oldest in the world. George Stephenson built the first public inter-city railway line in the world to use steam locomotives. After all these inventions of steam engines and railways, the industrial revolution started in the world and life is going to be changed. In India, railway transport started in Madras and the first train ran from Red Hills to Chintadripet bridge.

The railway was first built by Sir Arthur Cotton and it was first used for transporting Granit stones for road building work in Madras now India’s national rail network is the world’s fourth largest network. These railway tracks were laid down on flat lands and many rivers, mountains, and other types of planes like Mahatma Gandhi Setu, Vikramshila Setu, Bogibeel Bridge, and many more. But the Chenab rail bridge is the world’s highest bridge in the world.

chenab rail bridge facts
chenab rail bridge facts

Chenab Rail Bridge

India’s highest rail bridge Chenab Rail Bridge is considered the highest railway bridge in the World. This mega project was constructed under Northern Railway across the Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir between the towns of Udhampur near Jammu and Baramulla on the northwestern edge of the Kashmir Valley. Chenab railway bridge is a steel and concrete arch bridge between Bakkal and Kauri and just 42 km from the main Reasi town in the Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir, India. For the first time in India after independence, Srinagar will be linked to the rest of India after the building of the world’s highest single-arch railway bridge over the Chenab river will be launched.

This Chenab Bridge is part of the ambitious 272 km long railway line from Udhampur to Baramulla and this project is named as Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla-Rail Link Project joining Jammu with Kashmir valley as an all-weather high-speed alternative.

This 272 km long railway line has 38 tunnels a total length of 119 km with the country’s longest tunnel T-49 (12.75 km), and 927 big and small bridges (total length of 13 km) part of it. It is located on the Chenab river at a height of 359 m (1,178 ft), making it the world’s highest railway bridge of the world. This bridge is 35 meters taller than the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. It is designed to withstand high wind speeds up to 266 km/hr and bear earthquake forces of the highest intensity zone 5. This bridge is operational at a restricted pace of 30 km/hr, even after removing one pier/trestle.

Construction of highest Indian bridge

This Railway Bridge was originally intended to be completed in December 2009 but in 2008, the project was halted due to fears of the bridge’s stability and safety. It was again restarted in 2010, to be planned or completed in 2015.

The design and construction were done by Afcons infrastructure which is a part of Shapoorji Pallonji Group, the third-largest construction group in India. Major construction decisions were taken by Konkan Railway Corporation. The Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) helped to design the bridge and make it blast-proof using special steel.

         The bridge’s construction involved the fabrication of 28,660 MT steel, 10 lacks Earthwork, 66,000 Concrete, and 26 km of Motorable roads. It is also highlighted that Chenab Bridge took more than 1300 workers and 300 engineers to bring the project to fruition. The most sophisticated ‘Tekla’ software is employed for structural detailing using structural steel suitable for -10o C to 40o C temperatures.

Chenab railway bridge has had to overcome several challenges the geology, the harsh terrain, and the hostile environment are just a few of the difficulties the engineers and railway officials had to overcome to get to this point. The bridge will include a 14-meter dual carriageway and a 1.2-meter wide central verge and will have a design speed of around 100 mph with a lifespan of 120 years. Approximately 584 km of welding was done to join the different parts of the structure, which is to tune the distance from Jammu Tawi to New Delhi.

highest railway bridge statics
highest railway bridge statics

Statements were given by USBRL

Surender Mahi, chief administrative officer of the USBRL Konkan Railways said, “It was a very big project for all of us. To reach here we had to construct 26 km of approach roads having bridges and tunnels”. Mahi also said that the engineers faced several challenges but last, they got the result of hard work. “In the 90 days pending works of the bridge, including rail tracks, shall be completed, and by the next two years, i.e, by December 2024, the train will pass over this bridge on way to Srinagar.

The work on rail tracks beyond this bridge (Bakkal) towards Srinagar is already on.” To achieve this feat, they sought technical expertise from IIT-Roorkee, IIT-Delhi, Indian Institute of Sciences, Bangalore, DRDO, the national remote sensing agency, GSI, and other agencies.

The deck has been completed today with golden joint and now the track will be laid. Thereafter, the trolleys will be used for trial runs. Control rooms will be set up. The cost of the project was 1450 crore INR. The entire event took place in Jammu and Kashmir’s steep Sangaldan at a height of more than 90 meters above the surrounding countryside.

         Giridhar Rajagopalan, deputy managing director of Afcons said, “We can confidently say that the bridge would be roughly 98 percent complete after the golden joint is finished. When we completed the arch closure last year, we felt a great sense of relief about our ability to complete the project accurately so that there was no mismatch.

Design of Chenab river bridge

After many deliberations, taking into account aesthetics, economy, and availability of local expertise and construction materials, the Chenab Rail Bridge was designed as a large-span single-arch steel bridge with approach viaducts on either side. The arch is two-ribbed, fabricated from large steel trusses. The chords of the trusses are sealed steel boxes, internally stiffened and filled with concrete to assist in controlling wind-induced forces on the bridge. Another advantage of concrete is that internal painting is not required.

Magenta is supplying 22 Reston-Spherical bearings and 38 Lasto-Block elastomeric stopper bearings for the construction of this bridge. All of the spherical bearings are of the type of free sliding and can allow sliding movements in all horizontal directions. They are designed to carry vertical loads of up to 14,160 kN, and 12 of the bearings are also designed to resist uplift forces. Lasto-Block elastomeric stopper bearings have been designed for horizontal force up to 5,100 kN.

         The number of bearings has been minimized, particularly on the approach viaduct, through the use of continuous construction. This is advantageous, as it reduces the maintenance and inspection efforts, and improves the riding quality. To assuring a safe design, Indian national standards have been supplemented with International Standards such as British Standards (BS), International Union of Railways (UIC), and Euro. Also, many global experts with versatile and relevant experience, have been involved to facilitate making the project a success.

india's highest railway bridge facts
india’s highest railway bridge facts

         With the use of RS technology, Maccaferri India has offered a solution for embankment design, highlighting the 10 Lakh Cum Earthwork and 66,000 Cum Concrete. Although these structures are more often used when building roadways, they have never before been built at this height for railway infrastructure. This RS embankment serves as immediate support for the railroad track.

The traditional approach would have been to construct a bridge and a reinforced cement concrete (RCC) wall simultaneously, which calls for a substantial foundation. Therefore it is advisable to use hybrid constructions that incorporate soil nails and geogrids. An RCC wall’s construction also leaves a substantial carbon footprint on the environment.

This location’s proximity to a train station necessitated a larger space, and a deeper foundation and the location is in a high seismic zone, thus traditional construction methods were not recommended. The cost and carbon emissions would have been much higher if a conventional approach had been taken. The project also employed the environmentally friendly technique of utilizing tunnel muck or soil gathered after the tunneling operations. These RS buildings were constructed out of more than 2 lakh cubic meters of tunnel muck.

Following are some of the design considerations taken:

·   Limit state philosophy of design has been decided to be followed as per BS codes

·   Computation of wind load effects as per wind tunnel tests

·   Site-specific seismic spectra developed by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee

·   Provision of Euro code 8 for ductility detailing of very tall and hollow rectangular RCC piers

·   Provision of long welded rail (LWR) over the bridges and resulting force calculation as per UIC – 774-3R guidelines

·   Blast-resistant design used

·   Design checking for fatigue as per BS codes

·   Deformation limits as per comfort criteria of UIC 776-2R and UIC 776 -3R guidelines

·   Redundancy provided in the structures, for the lower level of operation during mishaps and against collapse in extreme cases of one-pier failure.

chenab rail bridge technical data
chenab rail bridge technical data

Technical Data of the bridge:-

·   Deck height (height above river bed): 359 m (1,178 ft)

·   Height above river surface: 322 m (1,056 ft)

·   Bridge length: 1,315 m (4,324 ft), including the 650 m (2,130 ft) long viaduct on the northern side.

·   Arch span: 467 m (1,532 ft)

·   Arch length: 480 m (1,570 ft)·   It has the longest span of 5 ft 6 in. (1,676 mm) broad gauge railway network.

(Written By –Piyush Soni)

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