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Hon’ble Minister of Railways inspects proposed Rangpo station and Tunnel No. 14 of Sivok – Rangpo rail link project

Shri Ashwini Vaishnaw, Hon’ble Minister of Railways, Communications, Electronics and Information Technology o­n 7th March, 2023 inspected the proposed Rangpo station of Sikkim. He also inspected Tunnel No. 14 of the Sivok – Rangpo new rail link project. The Minister reviewed the progress of the work and urged the officials to complete the work at the earliest.

While inspecting the proposed Rangpo station, the Hon’ble Minister said that it is o­ne of the 5 railway stations that would be developed under the Sivok – Rangpo rail link project. The station building is proposed to be of 12,850 square metres with car parking, 24X7 power backup, drinking water, solar panels o­n roof, divyang friendly facilities, escalators, lifts, concourse etc. to provide passengers the modern amenities & comfort at the same time. The station will also be a commercial & tourism hub for the state of Sikkim.

The Hon’ble Minister also inspected the Tunnel No. 14 of the Sivok – Rangpo new rail link project and reviewed the progress of the tunnelling works. The length of Tunnel No. 14 is about 2 km long located just before Rangpo station. The tunnel traverses through vulnerable and challenging geological conditions of the lesser Himalayan range.

Notably, all the tunnels in this project are being constructed using the NATM or New Austrian Tunneling Method. This method of tunneling is the best suited o­ne for this strata and the sensitive geology of this alignment. This is the most advanced tunnel construction methodology adopted in Indian Railways. The Hin’ble MR inspected the final lining procedure used in the tunnel. During finishing the tunnel lining, a shotcrete layer is sprayed for surface smoothening. It is followed by surface strengthening by providing lateral piping in the tunnel wall, geotextile and PVC member fixing & steel binding. A concrete layer is then poured along a movable steel gantry to give the final structure to the tunnel. The movable gantry is then moved to the next section after 10 hrs of curing .The Hon’ble Minister congratulated the engineers and workers for the excellent work being done using such state of the art methodologies despite the various challenges in the region.

This new rail link project connecting Sivok (West Bengal) and Rangpo (Sikkim) isabout 45 kms long and is characterised by 14 nos. tunnels, 23 nos. bridges and 5 nos.stations. The entire length of tunnelling work of this project is about 38 km. The project is sanctioned with an estimated cost of Rs. 4085 crores and targeted to be completed by December, 2023. This new line will be extended further to capital city of Gangtok bringing railway connectivity to State capital. Moreover, initial survey up to Nathula is also under progress.


(Sabyasachi De)

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