Bilaspur–Mandi–Leh line

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Bilaspur–Mandi–Manali-Leh line
Type All-weather 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) broad gauge
  • Survey – done
  • Feasibility Report – done
  • Submission to Planning Commission for appraisal – done
  • Approval by Planning Commission – yes
  • Land Acquisition – no
  • Construction – no
Locale Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, India
Termini Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh
Services Bilaspur-Mandi-ManaliKulluKeylongLeh
Line length 498 km (309 mi)
Track length 498 km (309 mi)
Track gauge 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in)
Highest elevation 5,359 m (17,582 ft) at Tanglangla
Route map
Bilaspur-Mandi-Leh line
To Srinagar (planned)
0 Leh
Taglang La
Rohtang Hault
To Joginder Nagar

Bilaspur–Mandi–Manali-Leh line is a proposed high-elevation all-weather 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) broad gauge railway track that is planned to connect Bilaspur in Himachal Pradesh to Leh in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir state of India.[1][2] It would link to the Indian railway network via an extension of the Kangra Valley Railway to Mandi, which would be converted to 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) broad gauge.[3][4]

The total expected length of Bilaspur–Mandi–Leh line is 498 km (309 miles). It would become the highest railway track in the world, overtaking the current record of China's Qinghai–Tibet Railway.[5] The Railway Budget 2011-2012 announced that the project would be taken up in the next year's budget.[6] The next year's Railway Budget announced that the project was sent to the Planning Commission for appraisal.[7][8] As of September 2016, Northern Railways has begun the process of acquiring land for setting up office in Leh.[9]


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–Mandi–Leh line, the Union Railway Ministry of India forwarded the recommendation to the Planning Commission of India for its approval.[8] 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 500 km (310 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.[10]

Uncertainty due to paucity of funds[edit]

The Bhanupalli (Punjab) to Bilaspur rail link is currently under construction but hardly any funds have been allocated and almost no progress was made as of 2013. There has been a demand to lay the railway line to Bilaspur from Kalka railhead instead of laying it from Bhanupalli. Therefore, the alignment and the fate of the proposed railway line to Leh is very uncertain. The railways are short of funds to the extent of more than four hundred billion rupees for the existing projects in hand as of 2013.

Indian Railways has estimated that the entire project is estimate to cost INR 22,318 Crore.[9]

Current Status[edit]

In December 2016, Government of India had 73 roads being constructed along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China and has identified 14 strategic border area railway line projects. The following four - will be taken up as the priority basis as the first phase: Bilaspur Manali-Leh (498 km) section of Pathankot-Leh strategic raillway along the Himachal-J&K border, Missamari-Tenga-Tawang (378 km) along Bhutan-Arunachal border, North Lakhimpur-Bame-Silapathar (249 km) along Assam-Arunachal border, and Murkongselek-Pasighat-Tezu-Rupai (227 km) along Assam-Arunachal border. The 498 km Bilaspur-Manali-Leh rail project has been expedited and the Final Location Survey (FLS) for this has been undertaken at a cost of Rs 345 crore. The railway had requested the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, Leh (LAHDC) to provide adequate land for setting up a camp office, and the required infrastructure.[11] IN April 2017, Government said that the Final location Survey (FSL) for these will be completed by the October 2020.[12]

In addition to the above 4 lines commenced in 2016, two more strategic lines were approved in May 2017 for construction: Dehradun-Uttarkashi and Rishikesh-Karnaprayag-Chamoli under religious tourism to connect Yamunotri, Gangotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath in Uttarakhand.

The remaining 8 strategic railway projects are: Patti-Ferozpur[13] in Punjab, Jodhpur-Jaisalmer doubling of the existing line in Rajasthan, Tanakpur-Bageshwar[14] in Uttarakhand. Jammu-Akhnoor-Poonch[15] in K&K along line-of-control, Chattargarh-Hanumangargh-Motigarh-Anupgargh-Bikaner[16] from Sirsa in Haryana to along Rajasthan border, Tanakpur-Jauljibi[17] in Uttarakhand to China border, Jodhpur-Phulsund[18] in Rajasthan, Srinagar-Kargil-Leh[19] along line of control in J&K.[20]

  • June 2017: Foundation stone laid for final location survey by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu. [21]

Taglangla station[edit]

Taglang La Pass

Taglangla 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 China at 5,086 m (16,686 ft).


After Jammu–Baramulla line, Bilaspur–Mandi–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 498 km (309 mi) long all weather broad gauge railway line has been calculated at Rs 22,831 crore with a negative rate of return of 4.46%.[22] However, it is uncertain when the construction would start, if at all.

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. ^ Rail link to Leh: Centre seeks Plan panel nod
  4. ^
  5. ^ "When men defies his limits: Living in the altitude". SummitPost. Retrieved 2012-04-02. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 March 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  8. ^ a b "'Manali–Leh railway line project report with Planning Commission". 2010-12-26. Retrieved 2012-04-02. 
  9. ^ a b "Railways seeks land at Leh to expedite rail link project". Retrieved 2016-09-04. 
  10. ^ "Four places along China border identified for rail connectivity: Government". The Economic Times. 22 December 2014. Retrieved 22 December 2014. 
  11. ^ Bilaspur-Manali-Leh rail line on fast track
  12. ^ Centre announces final location survey of three railway lines in Arunachal Pradesh
  13. ^ Patti-Ferozpur raillink google map
  14. ^ Tanakpur-Bageshwar railway google map
  15. ^ Jammu=Akhnoor-Poonch railway in J&K along LOC
  16. ^ Chattargarh-Hanumangargh-Motigarh-Anupgargh-Bikaner google rail map in Haryana to Rajasthan
  17. ^ Tanakpur-Jauljibi google rail map in Uttarakhand
  18. ^ Jodhpur-Phulsund google rail map
  19. ^ Srinagar-Kargil-Leh google rail map
  20. ^ Government gives go-ahead to 4 strategic rail lines along China border
  21. ^
  22. ^

External links[edit]