Railway line through India to Kashmir – Leister Equipment Used in Tunnel Construction

Success Stories5 Oct 2020

In India, a railway line is being built to connect the city of Baramulla in the Kashmir Valley with the rest of the country. For this purpose, numerous tunnels have to be drilled and sealed. Various Leister devices and machines are used for this purpose.

Author: Silke Landtwing, Manager Corporate Communications, Leister Switzerland

Building a 326 km / 202.6 mi long railway line through India, which winds from Jammu to Udhampur and on to Srinagar and Baramulla in the Kashmir Valley, is a great challenge for several reasons: The geology along the route is very different and complex. Geological strata vary from loose conglomerate, clay, siltstones, crushed sandstone and dolomite. In addition, the route leads through the rugged, mountainous terrain of the Himalayas. During the work, adjustments to the track design must be made again and again. The construction of longer tunnels and wide cross-sections for railway stations also presents the project managers with difficult tasks. In addition, the track builders are struggling with extreme weather conditions, as this region is prone to heavy rain and snowfall.

Leister equipment for tunnel construction - supplied by Leister India

The TWINNY T from Leister is ideally suited for welding the Geomembrane in tunnel construction due to its light weight. This is because the users need an automatic welding machine in the tunnel that enables them to carry out longer lasting overhead welding.

In spite of these proverbial obstacles in the way, the major project has been successful so far. The goal is for the first train to Kashmir to leave in 2022. To make this possible, many more tunnels have to be bored and then sealed with geomembranes. This is where Leister India comes in. The Indian subsidiary of the globally active Leister Group supplies tunnel builders with the appropriate Leister equipment.

So far Leister India has

  • 15 automatic plastic welding machines, TWINNY ST,
  • 25 TWINNY T
  • 100 TRIAC AT heat guns
  • 40 testing devices such as B. VACUUM BELL, VACUUM BOX, VACUUM PUMP and compressed air testers

and numerous accessories.

The TWINNY plastic welding machines from Leister are used to weld 2 mm / 78.7 mil thick PVC geomembranes made by Renolit, SIKA and Technonicol, which are used to line the tunnel walls and protect them against corrosion. B. against water escaping from the rock.

For smaller welding jobs, the construction workers rely on the handy Leister heat gun, TRIAC AT. They appreciate the robust and reliable heat gun because of its low weight of less than 1 kg / 2.2 lbs. and the ergonomic, soft-touch handle, because it allows them to work for longer periods of time with ease.

More information about the advantages of the world-renowned hot air equipment from Leister can also be found on our news blog "Leister-Stories".

After the PVC geomembranes have been welded together, they are tested with Leister testing equipment such as B. the Test Needle tested whether the welds are tight.

Arun Kumar, General Manager of Leister India, is proud that Leister is involved in this important project.

Figures and costs

The total cost of the project is around 280 billion Indian rupees (just under $4 billion USD).

Of this amount, around 220 billion Indian rupees (just under $3 billion USD) have been budgeted for the section from Katra to Banihal alone, which is a particular challenge in this project due to its complexity. This is because the route of this third and final project section comprises a total of 37 tunnels with a total length of 163 km / 101.3 mi (various main tunnels with a total length of 97 km / 60.3 mi and escape tunnels with a length of 66 km / 41 mi).

Project status

The entire project was divided into three phases due to its geological challenges:

  • Phase 1: Quazigund-Baramulla (118 km / 73.3 mi) and Banihal-Quazigund (18 km / 11.2 mi) - commissioned in June 2013
  • Phase 2: Udhampur to Katra (25 km / 15.5 mi) - in operation since July 2014
  • Phase 3: Katra to Banihal (165 km / 102.5 mi) - to be completed by March 2021

In October 2019, about two thirds of the 326 km / 202.6 mi long Jammu-Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla railway line was completed. The last section, which is still under construction, is a 111 km / 69 mi stretch between Katra, a Hindu pilgrimage town near Jammu, and Banihal on the slopes of the Kashmir Valley.

The section for Katra-Banihal is considered the most difficult in the history of engineering in India

The section from Katra to Banihal (Phase 3 of the project) is considered the most difficult in the history of Indian engineering. It includes the construction of 27 bridges. These include the 1315 m / 4314.3 ft. long and 359 m / 1177.8 ft. high Chenab Bridge, which will be the highest railway bridge in the world when completed. There are also 37 tunnels, one of which will be the longest tunnel in Asia with a length of more than 12 km / 7.5 mi.

The tunnels will be equipped with state-of-the-art ventilation systems. Provisions have been made for parallel escape tunnels in accordance with international standards, which will be connected to the main tunnels at regular intervals by cross-connections to facilitate rescue in an emergency.


If the entire railway line is completed as planned, trains from New Delhi and Srinagar will travel to the Kashmir Valley in just 14 hours, starting in 2022. We will inform you again when the time comes.