The Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail link, will provide an alternative and reliable transportation system to Jammu and Kashmir

Kashmir will be connected to the rest of India through railway network by December 2021
next year as the government has set a fresh deadline for completion of the world's highest railway bridge.

The Chenab bridge on the rail line is expected to be 35 metres taller than the Eiffel Tower.

Konkan Railway has said it was the most challenging project in the post-independent history of the Indian Railways.

"It is the most challenging task in the 150-year-long history of the railways. The highest railway bridge in the world, connecting Kashmir with rest of the country through rail line will be completed by December 2021," Konkan Railway Chairman Sanjay Gupta told reporters here on Wednesday night.

"The construction of the bridge is the most challenging part of the Kashmir rail link project undertaken post independence and, once completed, it will be an engineering marvel," Gupta said.

The massive arch-shaped structure, being constructed in hostile terrain, have used over 5,462 tonnes of steel will be 359 metres above the river bed, he added.

Designed to withstand wind speeds of up to 260 km per hour, the 1.315-km-long "engineering marvel" will connect Bakkal (Katra) and Kauri (Srinagar).

The bridge forms a crucial link in the 111-km stretch between Katra and Banihal, which is part of the Udhampur- Srinagar-Baramulla rail link project.

Once completed, it will surpass the record of the Beipan river Shuibai railway bridge (275 m) in China.

The Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail link project is highly essential to provide an alternative and a reliable transportation system to Jammu and Kashmir to join Kashmir Valley to the Indian Railways network, Gupta said.

He added that in view of the importance of this project in providing seamless and hassle-free connectivity in Jammu and Kashmir, the project was declared as a national project in 2002.