|Locale||Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh, India|
|Termini||Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh|
|Line length||498 km (309 mi)|
|Track length||498 km (309 mi)|
|Track gauge||1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in)|
|Highest elevation||5,359 m (17,582 ft) at Taglang La|
Bilaspur–Leh line is a proposed high-elevation all-weather 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) broad gauge railway track that is planned to connect Bilaspur in Himachal Pradesh to Leh in Ladakh union territory of India. It would either link to the Indian railway network via an extension of the Kangra Valley Railway (which would be converted to 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) broad gauge) to Mandi or via railway line to Bilaspur from Kalka.
The total expected length of Bilaspur–Leh line is 498 km (309 miles). It would become the highest railway track in the world, overtaking the current record of the Qinghai–Tibet Railway. The Railway Budget 2011-2012 announced that the project would be taken up in the next year's budget. The next year's Railway Budget announced that the project was sent to the Planning Commission for appraisal. As of September 2016, Northern Railways has begun the process of acquiring land for setting up office in Leh.
The Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh asked the Government of India to extend railway connectivity from Bilaspur to Leh through Mandi, Manali and Keylong. This would increase tourism in Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh and facilitate quicker movement of troops and equipment. Following an examination of the feasibility report for the proposed Bilaspur–Leh line, the Union Railway Ministry of India forwarded the recommendation to the Planning Commission of India for its approval. The survey for the project had been done and presently it is seeking approval of the planning commission of India and while railway minister assured about early clearance of this project.
Once this railway line is completed, Leh will be directly connected to Himachal Pradesh and the rest of India by railway. The distance between Bilaspur and Leh will be about 500 km (310 mi). When the railway lines to Bilaspur and then to Leh are completed, the time taken to reach Leh from Delhi will be reduced to less than two days compared to about four days by the existing highway from Manali. Personnel and equipment will be transported more easily to Leh, a strategic military base. This is one of the four important railway connectivity along China border identified by the Defence Ministry.
After Jammu–Baramulla line, Bilaspur–Leh line will be the most challenging railway project in Indian Railways due to high mountains, a large number of tunnels and high bridges and severe cold weather.[original research?] According to the survey report, cost of construction of this 498 km (309 mi) long all weather broad gauge railway line has been calculated at Rs 83,360 crore with a negative rate of return of 4.46%.
The 498 km (309 mi) Bilaspur–Leh rail project has been expedited and the Final Location Survey for this is been undertaken at a cost of Rs 345 crore. The railway had requested the LAHDC to provide adequate land for setting up a camp office, and the required infrastructure. In April 2017, Government said that the Final location Survey (FSL) for these will be completed by the October 2020. In June 2017, foundation stone was laid for final location survey by then Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu.
Taglang La railway station
Taglang La railway station at Taglang La is expected to become the highest railway station in the world at 5,359 m (17,582 ft) above the sea level overtaking the current record of Tanggula railway station in Qinghai, China at 5,086 m (16,686 ft).
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- Bilaspur-Manali-Leh rail line on fast track
- Centre announces final location survey of three railway lines in Arunachal Pradesh