It was in 1882 that the first plans were made to link the picturesque western coast of India with a railway line. But the Formidable Sahyadri Mountains, the innumerable creeks and rivers proved too great a challenge at that time.
The railway system had begun just a few decades earlier. *The first railway line on the Indian sub , from Bori Bunder to Thane a distance of 21 miles had been opened to traffic on April 16, 1853*. Since then, it had grown to a total of 62,915 route kilometres [by 1998]. However, on the western coastline of the country, there was a crucial missing link.In 1984, more than a century after the first tentative survey, fresh plans are drawn up for a railway along this route. The survey was conducted over four years, upto 1988, and the Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd., (A Government of India Undertaking) was set up with Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka and Kerala in 1990 under the Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) principle.
It was a formidable task. The terrain through which the line traverses is the most difficult encountered in the history of railway construction. Crossing the route involved building 92 tunnels, 179 major bridges, 2,819 minor bridges and 59 stations. There were some long tunnels – the tunnelin Karbude (Ratnagiri) is 6.5 kms in length, the longest in the Indian Railway System. Some tall viaducts also needed to be built, such as the one in the Panval Nadi valley in Ratnagiri, the tallest bridge in Asia.
It stands at a height of 64 metres, surpassing even the height of Qutub Minar. The construction was finally completed on January 24, 1998 in the Golden Jubilee year of Indian Independence.
The building of the Konkan Railway system succeeded in a whole host of technological innovations. The long tunnels have been designed with ballast-less tracks, to ensure a smooth ride and reduce noise, apart from making it maintenance free. The deck of the Panval Nadi Bridge consists of a single continuous pre-stressed concrete box girder, manufactured and pushed from one end by the incremental launching system.
The 423.25 metre long continuous box girder, weighing 4,400 tonnes, was pushed from one end, using a force of a mere 715 tonnes over temporary bearings provided with Teflon lubricating pads mounted on each pier. The piers are octagonal in shape and hollow inside, designed to withstand the highest seismic forces.The Konkan Railway has the distinction of trying this technology for the first time in India, and its success was acknowledged by two prestigious awards – Most Outstanding Concrete Structure of India Award for 1994, from the American Concrete Institute (ACI), and the National Award for the Most Outstanding Bridge in 1995, from the Indian Institute of Bridge Engineers.Over the years, the Konkan Railway had spur economic growth in this region that has been handicapped by a lack of infrastructure, despite rich mineral and agricultural resources. The journey on the fast track to progress has just begun
The Department of Posts feels privileged to issue this commemorative stamp on the occasion of dedication of the Konkan Railway to the Nation.
Issued Date : 01.05.1998
Denomination : 800 Paise