IMPHAL, July 29 - Union Railways Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu will arrive here on Saturday along with Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain to launch the commencement of work on the country�s longest railway tunnel. He will also lay the foundation stone of a new rail station building at Malom near here tomorrow.
The 11.5 km longest railway tunnel is one of the 46 tunnels covering a total distance of 54.5 km in between the Tupul-Imphal section in the on-going 111 km Jiribam-Tupul-Imphal Manipur railway project, according to NF Railway.
The Manipur project, estimated to cost Rs 5,996 crores, is targeted to be completed by 2018 while the 84 km Jiribam-Tupul section is projected for completion in 2016.
�The construction works of the tunnel is expected to start from six locations and it may take around three years time,� said a Railway official.
Currently, the 11.25 km long Pir Panjal Railway tunnel passing through the Pir Panjal Range of middle Himalayas in Jammu and Kashmir which is a part of Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail link project, is India�s longest railway tunnel.
Interestingly, out of 148 bridges including four tall, five major and 139 minor bridges, the proposed railway bridge (number 164) near the proposed Noney station (Tamenglong district) would be the tallest girder rail bridge in the world with a height of 141 metres.