Bilaspur-Manali-Leh line along India-China border will be world’s highest rail.
New Delhi: The Railways plans to use aircraft-like pressurised coaches in its trains for the Bilaspur-Manali-Leh line along the India-China border, which will be the world’s highest rail track, so that passengers do not have breathing difficulties on board.
Aircraft cabins are pressurised because the air is very thin at the altitude planes fly. To prevent complications, the cabins of many aircraft are adjusted to near sea-level pressure, which makes breathing almost the same as at sea level.
At a height of 5,360 met-res above the sea level, the 465-km strategically significant line to be built at a cost of Rs 83,360 crore, will see railways’ first pressurised coaches which are currently used only in the Quinghay-Tibet Railway Line in China.
“Special pressurised roll-ing stock to deal with lack of oxygen will have to be used in these trains as passengers might feel uneasy because of the high altitu-de. These will be like the cabins used by aircraft,” said chief en-gineer (Construction), northern railway, D.R. Gupta.
The Chinese coaches, manufactured by Canada’s Bombardier Inc, which al-so makes small planes, are specially designed to carry passengers in an oxygen-deficient atmosphere. For this, the train cars have to be pressurised, to ensure that the passengers do not finish their journey with severe cases of altitude sickness.
Mr Gupta said that in the Tibet train, two kinds of systems are used to maintain oxygen levels - one is through the main controls which maintains standard oxygen levels and gets sw-itched on at high altitude areas and the other is through oxygen ports equ-ipped for each passenger to use when they feel that they lack oxygen. It is not clear if these coaches will be produced in India or procured from outside.
The Integrated Coach Factory which is already pepping up to produce both metro coaches as well as coaches for the Ahmed-abad-Mumbai bullet train and could be roped in to make coaches for the Bilaspur-Manali-Leh line as well, an official said.
The line will connect locations between Bilasp-ur and Leh like Sunder-nagar, Mandi, Manali, Keylong, Koksar, Darcha, Upshi and Karu and other important towns of Him-achal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir en route.
The project will include 74 tunnels, 124 major brid-ges and 396 minor bridges, according to the first phase of the survey.