Tunnel no. T-11 of the Sivok – Rangpo Rail Project (SRRP), located in Kalimpong district of West Bengal, achieved a major milestone of breakthrough on the special day of 126th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose on 23rd January, 2023.
- This is the sixth breakthrough of tunnels in this project. However, in the context of the length, this is the first breakthrough of any tunnel longer than 3 km.
- The length of the Main Tunnel is 3205m and of Evacuation Tunnel is 960m, located in between Tarkhola and Tumlangkhola in Kalimpong district of West Bengal. The Evacuation Tunnel connecting the NH-10 and the Main Tunnel No. 11 was completed in December 2022.
- The Main Tunnel traverses through vulnerable and challenging geological and seismic conditions of the Lesser Himalaya. Like all other tunnels in the SRRP, to counter vulnerability of the groundmass, the latest and most sophisticated tunnelling technology,i.e., New Austrian Tunneling Method or NATM has been used here.
- A Swiss Consultancy team has been engaged for the tunnel design in this project and the execution team includes top class and well experienced engineers from India.
- The mining work in the tunnel was started in February 2020 after completion of approach roads and portal developmental work on both sides.
- This new rail link project connecting Sivok (West Bengal) and Rangpo (Sikkim) is about 45 kms long and is characterised by 14 nos. tunnels, 22 nos. bridges and 5 nos. stations. About 38 kms of the entire project alignment is passing through tunnels and it is to mention that 67% of tunnelling work has already been completed.
- This is one of the prestigious ongoing National projects in India and on completion of this project, first time the State of Sikkim will be connected via railways. At present all the activities related to construction of tunnels, bridges and station yards are going on a war footing basis to complete the project at the earliest.
About Sivok-Rangpo railway project:
- Total length of the complete railway project is 44.96 kms of which 41.55 kms falls in West Bengal and 3.41 kms falls in Sikkim.
- The anticipated project cost will be around Rs. 8,900 crores of which about Rs 335.52 crores have already been utilized till last month.
- For this project, the budget allotment for 2020-21 is Rs. 607 Crores.
- IRCON International Ltd. on behalf of Northeast Frontier Railway is carrying out the construction work of the project.
- There will be 14 tunnels, 5 stations (Sivoke, Riyang, Teesta Bazar, Melli and Rangpo) and 13 bridges in the section.
- The entire section is being constructed by using the latest technology so that trains can run at a speed of 100 kilometres per hour.
- There will be 38,555 mts of tunneling work involved in the entire project.
- This is more than 92% of the entire project length.
- Work is already in progress in various sections.
- However due to difficult terrain and prolonged rainy season work often gets affected.
- Moreover, the work got affected from March, 2020 to May, 2020 due to COVID 19 related restrictions.
- The likely date of completion of the Sivok-Rangpo railway project is December, 2022.
Source: Northeast Frontier Railway- Press Release | Images Credit: MoR