Details of Proposed Train to Tawang and New Railway Lines from Arunachal Pradesh from Assam
Tawang, a serene tourist town on the Indian border with China in the northeastern region, is to get direct railway connectivity from Bhalukpung as the Central government aimed for new heights of railway lines in Arunachal Pradesh. The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has also identified Bamey and Pasighat for better rail connectivity in Arunachal Pradesh from Silapathar and Murkongselek in Assam respectively.
Bhalukpung is a small town along the beautiful Kameng River in the southern fringes of the Himalayas. Bhalukpung is where the inner line check post is located 52km from Tezpur in Assam. The proposed railway line to Tawan from Bhalukpong will be one of the highest elevations for high-altitude train travel in India. Notably, Tawan is situated at an altitude of 10,000 feet.
Tawang is accessible by road from the nearest airports: Salonibari Airport in Tezpur and Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi Airport in Guwahati. The upcoming railway service to Tawang will cut the travel time for tourists. Tawang is famous for Tawang Monastery which is the world’s biggest Buddhist monastery outside of Tibet, according to many. Visit to the monastery is pilgrimage for Tibetan Buddhists as it is the birthplace of the sixth Dalai Lama.
However, it will be challenging to lay the proposed railway lines through terrains ranging from 500 feet to 9,000 feet in elevation. Sela (13,700 feet) is the highest point of elevation on the way to Tawang. Naharlagun, 10km from Itanagar, was the first to get railway service in Arunachal Pradesh in 2014. The project will cost Rs 50,000 crore to Rs 70,000 crore.
The other projects to boost connectivity in the northeast states of India include a rail-cum-road bridge on Brahmaputra River in Guwahati and a four-line elevated corridor between Kamakhya to Guwahati. The feasibility of connecting Majuli, the world’s largest river island, with the existing railway lines and roadways is currently under a survey.