Kalimpong: The Sivok–Rangpo Rail Project‘s Tunnel No. 03 (T-3) in the Darjeeling district achieved a breakthrough on August 25, signifying the completion of excavation work for all 7 tunnels in the project.
The main tunnel, spanning 1,275 metres, is located between Kajijhora and Swetijhora in Darjeeling district. It might be noted that this main tunnel navigates through challenging geological and seismic conditions characteristic of the Younger Himalayas.
“The construction of this tunnel was particularly challenged by the emission of methane gas from coal-bearing formations. Rigorous testing procedures were implemented to monitor methane gas levels as a safety precaution during the construction process,” railway officials said.
Railway officials also said that the cutting-edge New Austrian Tunneling Method (NATM) was employed for ground stability.
While the tunnel design was undertaken by an American consultancy team, the execution team featured seasoned engineers and geologists from both India and abroad.
The Sivok – Rangpo project has made significant progress, reaching 57% completion. This important railway initiative spans about 45 kilometres and connects Sivok in West Bengal to Rangpo in Sikkim. The project involves building 14 tunnels, 17 bridges, and 5 stations along the route.
Remarkably, the longest tunnel (T-10) extends over 5.3 km, and the longest bridge (Br-17) spans 425 metres. Around 38 km of the project’s alignment is tunnelled, with an impressive tunneling progress already reaching 83%.
The completion of tunnel mining operations is anticipated by January 2024.
At present, the final lining phase has concluded in tunnel T-14, while active work continues in tunnels T-02, T-05, T-09, T-10, T-11, and T-12.
A total of 5.34 km of lining work has been completed to date, with an estimated finish date set for September 2024.
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All project sections are witnessing continuous operations. The endeavour is a prestigious national project and when completed it will be the first-ever railway connection to the state of Sikkim.
With construction activities for tunnels, bridges, and station yards in full swing, the project is advancing at an accelerated pace toward completion, the officials added.
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