In a major milestone, tunnel no. T-03 of the Sivok–Rangpo Rail Project (SRRP), located in Darjeeling district of West Bengal, achieved a breakthrough on August 25. With this tunnel breakthrough, mining in seven tunnels have been completed so far in this project, stated a communication from NF Railway.
The length of the main tunnel is 1275 metre, located in between Kajijhora and Swetijhora in Darjeeling district of West Bengal. The main tunnel traverses through vulnerable and challenging geological and seismic conditions of the Younger Himalayas.
Emission of methane gas due to coal bearing formation was a big challenge during the construction of this tunnel. Regular testing for methane gas was being carried out as a safety measure to avoid any untoward incident while working, the statement said.
“Like all other tunnels in the SRRP, to counter vulnerability of the ground mass, latest and most sophisticated tunneling technology, i.e., New Austrian Tunneling Method or NATM has been used here. An American consultancy team has been engaged for the tunnel design in this project and the execution team includes top class and well experienced engineers & geologists from India and abroad,” it added.
The Sivok–Rangpo project has already achieved physical progress of 57%. This new rail link project connecting Sivok in West Bengal and Rangpo in Sikkim is about 45-km long and is characterized by 14 tunnels, 17 bridges and five stations.
The length of longest tunnel (T-10) is 5.3 km and length of the longest bridge (Br-17) is 425 meters. About 38 km of the entire project alignment is passing through tunnels and 83% of tunneling work has already been completed. Tunnel mining is expected to be completed by January, 2024, the statement added.
At present final lining has been completed in tunnel T-14 and is under progress in tunnel T-02, T-05, T-09, T-10, T-11 and T-12. Total 5.34 km lining has been completed till date and it is expected to be completed by September, 2024. Work in all sections is being carried out round the clock 24×7.
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. This rail network on its completion is aimed to provide alternate connectivity to the state of Sikkim.