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jis

Indian Railways heads up into the Himalayas

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In addition to the Jammu - Udhampur - Srinagar - Baramula Kashmir Rail Link that is in advanced stages of construction and partially in service, likely to be inaugurated for full service along its entire length in 2020, IR has been surveying four other rail links up into the Himalayas. Brief description of them appears in this article from 2014:

 

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/government-gives-go-ahead-to-4-strategic-rail-lines-along-china-border/#sthash.1Ddrz66Z.dpuf

 

What is new is that these projects have now been fully sanctioned with promise of full funding over many years from the Government of India and from the Ministry of Defense.

 

Of these of particular interest is the proposed line from Bilaspur to Leh via Manali, Keylong, Baralachla, Sarchu, Pang, Lachlungla, Upshi. It will rise to an altitude of over 11,000' and will involve tunnels that are 20 to 30 miles long. I have traveled roughly that route by road, and ir is truly spectacular. It would be interesting to watch how it goes.

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Interesting item. Sadly, despite the new rail routes, the UK foreign office has advised against travel to many areas in Kashmir. I visited Manali back in 1983, and loved the hill people in that area. I hope the construction will not damage the natural beauty of the area. I believe the road from Manali to Leh is closed all winter by snow, so a rail link seems a difficult project!

 

Ed.

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Interestingly the US State Department specifically allows travel in Ladakh and Himachal Pradesh, which are the two areas traversed by the route to Leh. It cautions about travel to Kashmir Valley, which is far away from this route.

 

 

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Edited by jis

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Indeed, the same for the UK. I only mentioned Kashmir in connection with the Jammu - Udhampur - Srinagar - Baramula Kashmir Rail Link mentioned above.

 

Ed.

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Of course the State Department’s ideas have never stopped me from going anywhere I please at least in India and possibly in Bangladesh. I can just naturally mingle in with the locals and indistinguishably speak at least one local language. That always helps.

 

On my next trip to India I plan to fly into Srinagar and ride the Banihal - Srinagar - Baramula portion of the Kashmir Rail Link that is up and running in Kashmir Valley and through the Pir Panjal Tunnel.

 

 

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Edited by jis

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I have always felt very comfortable in my visits to India, and have been treated very well. Probably much better than the average visitor to the UK is treated. Sadly, the situation for foreign tourists in some limited border areas of India is currently problematic.

 

Ed.

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