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Watch: Train traversing through snow-covered Kashmir Valley

The snow-laden Banihal railway station in Kashmir (Image courtesy: Indian Railways)

A video tweeted by the Railways Ministry showing a picturesque view of a train pulling through the snow-laden valley from Banihal to Badgam in Jammu and Kashmir has gone viral on social media even as entire North India battles a massive cold wave in the first week of 2023.

The USBRL (Udhampur Srinagar Baramulla Rail Link) is a National project undertaken by the Indian Railways for the construction of a broad-gauge railway line through the Himalayas, with the aim of connecting the Kashmir region with the rest of the country.

The all-weather, comfortable, convenient, and cost-effective mass transportation system will be the catalyst for the overall development of the northernmost alpine region of the country.

Construction of the first three phases of the project has been completed and the line is in operational use for running of trains between Baramulla-Banihal in Kashmir valley and Jammu-Udhampur-Katra in Jammu region.

Work on the intervening 111 Km section Katra-Banihal, the most arduous and treacherous portion due to its geology and extensive riverine system replete with deep gorges, is ongoing.

There are several bridges and tunnels, including the iconic arch bridge on the river Chenab, coming up in this section. Most of the rail track is slated to be in tunnels or bridges in this section.

The project has brought employment, prosperity, and connectivity to the people. The backward districts of Reasi and Ramban have especially benefitted from the project. Hinterlands hitherto inaccessible now have road connectivity. Medical, Educational, Market, and Business activities have become easily reachable for people.