Rangpo railway station: Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of Sikkim’s first railway station on Monday, February 26.

Rangpo railway station will enhance huge potential of growth of the tourism industry

Prime Minister shree Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of Sikkim’s first railway station Rangpo railway station on Monday, news agency ANI reported. Sikkim was the only state in India without any rail connectivity. When the monarchy was abolished on 16 May 1975, Sikkim became part of India as the country’s 22nd state. Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of India’s first underground railway station at Rangpo in Sikkim on Monday.

In his video conferencing address, the Prime Minister said the design of Rangpo Railway Station will be inspired by the rich culture, heritage and architecture of Sikkim. Sikkim Governor Laxman Prasad Acharya was present on the occasion.

Honble Governor said, “The foundation stone laying of Rangpo Railway Station is a historic and proud moment for Sikkim, which is very important in the context of ‘Vikshit Bharat@2047‘ and which will enhance the huge potential of growth of the tourism industry. Providing fast and convenient travel facilities. Also points to the facility, when affected by natural calamities such as the landslides of NH-10.

Rangpo Railway Station of Sevok-Rongpo Railway route is an underground railway station now under construction in Pakyong district of Sikkim. The railway code of this station is RNGPO. The station will directly benefit the people of Rongpo City and the three districts of Pakyong, Gangtok and Mangan districts of Sikkim.

The Sikkim railway station, commissioned in October 2009, will be constructed as a part of the Sevok-Rangpo railway project. The approximate length of this railway line extending from Sevok in West Bengal to Rangpo in Sikkim is about 45 km. The line will have a total of five stations, including one at Teesta Bazar, which could be India’s first underground halt station. The line will have four open crossing stations Sevok, Riang, Meli, Rongpo.

Rangpo railway station
Rangpo railway station Picture Courtsey - the Telegraph online

According to project director Mahinder Singh, out of 45 km, three and a half km is part of Sikkim state and 41.5 km is part of West Bengal. He also said that Teesta Bazar could be an underground railway station. It is the first underground railway station of Indian Railways, especially in broad gauge. This station is very relevant as Teesta Bazaar connects Darjeeling with Gangtok so it can be convenient for tourists who want to go to Darjeeling or Gangtok.  

He said that till now the people of Sikkim used to take advantage of road and air travel, now due to the development of railways they will get the opportunity to use third mode of transport. The project was supposed to be completed by May 2015, but due to natural calamities like floods and landslides, the project completion date has been revised.   

The importance of Rangpo station in Sikkim’s tourism and India’s defense is significant, as there was no railway in the state of Sikkim earlier. The government has signed off on three phases of the project, the first phase being the Sevak to Rangpo rail project in West Bengal; Next leg is Rangpo to Gangtok and Gangtok to Nathula.  

The 45 km long route primarily consists of tunnels with several bridges and open cutting/filling of station yards. It will have 14 tunnels and 22 bridges. About 86 percent of the total 44.96 km railway line consists of tunnels of 38.65 km length and about 5 percent of bridges of 2.24 km length.

Tunneling is done using the latest technology of NATM (New Austrian Tunneling Method) technique.

The track on the Sevok-Rangpo section of the Northeast Frontier Railway will have a handling capacity of 25 tonnes and trains can run at a maximum speed of 110 kmph.

The project was given to IRCON International in May 2010 for completion at a cost of Rs 4,084.69 crore and had a deadline of May 2015 to complete the project.

According to officials, the current revised date of the project is December 2024 and the revised cost is Rs 12,474.07 crore.