The North Frontier Railway has expedited the Sevoke-Rangpo rail line project, which requires an investment of Rs 12,500 crore. The completion of this new line will incorporate Sikkim into the country's railway network by the end of the following year, as stated by the Chairman and Managing Director of Ircon International. The project cost has experienced a nine-fold increase since the foundation stone was laid in 2009 by the then Railway Minister, Mamata Banerjee. The estimated project cost in 2009 was Rs 1,339.48 crore.
Initially, the government aimed to finish the project by 2015. However, the deadline was extended to December 2023 due to various challenges encountered while constructing long tunnels through the mountains. The project spans a length of 44.98 km, with 14 tunnels, 17 bridges, and five stations. The majority of the route, approximately 41.54 km, is located in the Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts of West Bengal, while the remaining 3.44 km falls within Sikkim.
It is worth noting that out of the 14 tunnels, 13 are situated in Bengal, covering around 86% of the entire route. Unfortunately, during the construction of these tunnels, 10 workers lost their lives in accidents, including the construction of the 1,977-meter-long Tunnel No. 14, which was undertaken by ABIR Infrastructure.