Anjikhad Railway Bridge
Anjikhad Railway Bridge
Katra, Jammu-Kashmir, India
610 feet high / 186 meters high
869 foot span / 265 meter span
Anjikhad is the smaller of two large arch bridges that are due for construction on India’s new railway line between the states of Jammu and Kashmir in the Himalayan foothills of Northwestern India. Although the project got the go ahead in 1994, it was not until after 2002 that work began on the many tunnels and bridges. By 2005 delays began to slow the project considerably as engineers never expected the poor geology, access problems, tunnel excavation difficulties and labor disputes. When the 213 mile (343 km) line finally opens sometime around 2015, it will be the most expensive stretch of India’s 40,000 mile (64,000 kilometer) railway network. There is not much to show outside of the approach spans.
Located along the Katra-Quazigund section of the larger Jammu-Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla railway link (aka USBRL), Anjikhad is the smaller of the two major steel arch bridges on the line. The largest - over the river Chenab - will be the highest arch and railway bridge ever built at 1,053 feet (321 meters). Both arch bridges will be India’s highest railway structures ever, far exceeding the 295 foot (90 meter) high Jhajjar Khad and 253 foot (77 meter) high Gambhir bridges completed in 2007 (also on the Jammu-Udhampur line) as well as the 1974-built 230 foot (70 meter) high Panval Nadhi viaduct on the Konkan railway near Ratnagari.
Although the full span of the arch is 869 feet (265 meters), the main steel section of the arch only spans 771 feet (235 meters) to keep the level of the two springings even. Below the springing level of the steel portion of the arch is a concrete extension that protrudes some 100 feet (30 meters) out from the foundation on the north, Reasi side of the bridge.
Chenab and Anjikhad bridges are located less than 10 miles (16 km) north of the busy tourist town of Katra. Despite its small population, Katra is loaded with hotels and restaurants due to its proximity to the Vaishno Devi, the second most visited religious shrine in all of India after the Tirumala Venkateswara Temple. Located a mile above sea level, the large complex of white buildings steps down the side of the holy mountain of Vaishno Devi. The Hindu shrine is located about 8 miles (13 km) from Katra and is visited by millions of people a year. There is an airport in the much larger city of Jammu, located 30 miles (48 km) south of the Chenab bridge.
The Kashmir valley has always been one of the most isolated regions in India. When the line is finished, it will finally open up the area to the rest of India and the outside world. For a more extensive history of the railway and its construction visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kashmir_railway.
Anjikhad Bridge Elevation
A view of the river below the approximate location of the crossing.