The Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL), a railway PSU, has been entrusted with the task of undertaking the final survey for rail connectivity to Chardham - Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath - through Dehradun and Karanprayag.
According to northern railway sources, as the alignment will pass through the rugged Himalayan mountains, the railways have to meet the challenges of construction, integrating unique challenges of terrain and adverse geology, along with limits of load, capacity, safety and speed. As per the survey, the total route length is 327-km at an estimated cost of Rs 43,292 crore.
RVNL has undertaken a reconnaissance engineering survey (REC) in 2014-15 and submitted its report in October 2015, recommending two take-off points - one from existing Doiwala station, and another from Karnprayag station, which is under construction.
The reconnaissance survey suggested 21 new stations, 61 tunnels totalling a tunnel length of 279 km and 59 bridges.
Railways have commenced the final location survey for single broad gauge rail line connectivity to the Char Dham.
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All four Dham have their diverse and unique height levels along with mystical significance.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu will lay the foundation stone of the project at Badrinath in Uttarakhand on Friday. The Yamunotri tracing the origin of the river Yamuna is situated at 3,293 metre above mean sea level while Gangotri tracing the origin of River Ganga is situated at 3,408 metre above MSL, a railway official said.
Besides pilgrims, a large number of foreign and domestic tourists throng the scenic state. Kedarnath, famous for the shrine of Lord Shiva, is at 3,583 metres altitude and Badrinath, famous for the shrine of Lord Vishnu, is at 3,133 metres.
The Indian Railways is also pursuing its ambitious project of constructing a new rail line between Rishikesh and Karanprayag and efforts are underway to fast-track the project.