Indian Railways is all set to begin the final location survey of the Bilaspur-Manali-Leh line at Leh in Jammu and Kashmir this week. The 498-km-long line will be the highest rail track in the world at an altitude of 3,300 metre.
The project is strategically important due to its proximity to the Sino-Indian border. Completion of the line would mean India can ferry troops and equipment towards the border it shares with China with ease. Once the Bilaspur-Manali-Leh railway line is completed, Leh will be directly connected to Himachal Pradesh and the rest of India by railway.
The all-weather Leh rail network is, in fact, one out of four of its kind identified by the Defence Ministry along the China border. Once completed, the rail line will overtake the Qinghai-Tibet Railway in the neighbouring country in terms of height.