Bilaspur–Leh line

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Bilaspur–Leh line
  • Survey – done
  • Feasibility Report – done
  • Submission to Planning Commission for appraisal – done
  • Approval by Planning Commission – yes
  • Land Acquisition – In progress
  • Construction – no
LocaleHimachal Pradesh and Ladakh, India
TerminiBilaspur, Himachal Pradesh
Leh, Ladakh
Line length498 km (309 mi)
Track length498 km (309 mi)
Track gauge1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in)
Highest elevation5,359 m (17,582 ft) at Taglang La
Route map

Srinagar (planned)
Taglang La
Rohtang Hault
Joginder Nagar (planned)

Bilaspur–Leh line is a proposed high-elevation all-weather 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) broad gauge railway track that was planned to connect Bilaspur in Himachal Pradesh to Leh in Ladakh union territory of India.[1][2] It would link to the Indian railway network via an extension of the 62 km long under-construction railway line from Bhanupali to Bilaspur. Bhanupali is the railway station on existing Ambala-Sirhind-Una section of Northern railway.

The total expected length of Bilaspur–Leh line was 498 km (309 miles). The Railway Budget 2011-2012 announced that the project would be taken up in the next year's budget.[3] The Railway Budget in 2012 announced that the project was sent to the Planning Commission for appraisal.[4][5] As of September 2016, Northern Railways had begun the process of acquiring land for setting up office in Leh.[6]


The Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh asked the Government of India to extend railway connectivity from Bilaspur to Leh through Mandi, Manali and Keylong. This would increase tourism in Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh and facilitate quicker movement of troops and equipment.[1][2] Following an examination of the feasibility report for the proposed Bilaspur–Leh line, the Union Railway Ministry of India forwarded the recommendation to the Planning Commission of India for its approval.[5] The survey for the project had been done and presently it is seeking approval of the planning commission of India and while railway minister assured about early clearance of this project.

Strategic importance[edit]

Once this railway line is completed, Leh will be directly connected to Himachal Pradesh and the rest of India by railway. The distance between Bilaspur and Leh will be about 460 km (290 mi). When the railway lines to Bilaspur and then to Leh are completed, the time taken to reach Leh from Delhi will be reduced to less than two days compared to about four days by the existing highway from Manali. Personnel and equipment will be transported more easily to Leh, a strategic military base. This is one of the four important railway connectivity along China border identified by the Defence Ministry.[7]

Post Galwan clash with China, The Government of India expedited the land acquisition for the project.[8]


After Jammu–Baramulla line, Bilaspur–Leh line will be the most challenging railway project in Indian Railways due to high mountains, a large number of tunnels and high bridges and severe cold weather.[original research?] According to the survey report, cost of construction of this 458 km (285 mi) long all-weather broad-gauge railway line has been calculated at 83,360 crore (~USD 11.3 bn at time of publication[9]) with a negative rate of return of 4.46%.[10]


The 498 km (309 mi) Bilaspur–Leh rail project has been expedited and the Final Location Survey for this has been undertaken at a cost of ₹345 crore. The railway had requested the LAHDC to provide adequate land for setting up a camp office, and the required infrastructure.[11] In April 2017, the Government said that the Final location Survey (FSL) for these will be completed by the October 2020.[12] In June 2017, foundation stone was laid for final location survey by then Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu.[13]

Taglang La railway station[edit]

Taglang La railway station at Taglang La is expected to become the highest railway station in the world at 5,359 m (17,582 ft) above the sea level overtaking the current record of Tanggula railway station in Qinghai, China at 5,086 m (16,686 ft).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Himachal: Railways Awards Bhanupali-Bilaspur Railway Line Project". 19 September 2009. Archived from the original on 7 April 2012. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Rail link to Leh: Centre seeks Plan panel nod". Archived from the original on 12 March 2012. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
  3. ^ Speech of Mamata Banerjee introducing the Railway Budget 2011-12 25th February 2011. Archived from the original on 1 February 2012.
  4. ^ "Budget 2012-2013 Speech of Dinesh Trivedi Minister of Railways. March 14, 2012" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 March 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  5. ^ a b "'Manali–Leh railway line project report with Planning Commission'". 26 December 2010. Archived from the original on 26 February 2020. Retrieved 2 April 2012.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  6. ^ "Railways seeks land at Leh to expedite rail link project". The Economic Times. PTI. 4 September 2016. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  7. ^ "Four places along China border identified for rail connectivity: Government". The Economic Times. 22 December 2014. Retrieved 22 December 2014.
  8. ^ Manta, Dipender (22 June 2020). "Centre expedites land acquisition for Bilaspur-Leh railway line". Tribune India. Archived from the original on 23 June 2020. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  9. ^ "US Dollar (USD) to Indian Rupee (INR) Historical Exchange Rates on 18th October 2018". Retrieved 18 July 2021.
  10. ^ "Railways seeks central funding for Bilaspur-Leh project on India-China border". The New Indian Express. 18 October 2018. Archived from the original on 18 October 2018. Retrieved 16 January 2022.
  11. ^ "Bilaspur-Manali-Leh rail line on fast track". The Times of India. 3 December 2016. Archived from the original on 4 December 2016. Retrieved 16 January 2022.
  12. ^ "Centre announces final location survey of three railway lines in Arunachal Pradesh". The New Indian Express. PTI. 1 April 2017. Archived from the original on 7 November 2017. Retrieved 16 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  13. ^ Khosla, Sakshita (27 June 2017). "Train to Leh, Ladakh: Suresh Prabhu lays foundation stone for Bilaspur-Mandi-Leh Rail Line to be built at a cost of Rs 157 cr". Archived from the original on 29 June 2017.

External links[edit]