Railway dept stops traffic on Pamban Bridge; to be converted to historical monument

Construction work underway at the Pamban railway bridge in Rameswaram | Photo: File/PTI

Chennai: The Pamban Bridge, which has been existing as a landmark for over 100 years, will become a historical monument in near future. The traffic through the bridge had been completely stopped, The Southern Railways informed. Rail traffic to Rameshwaram will be resumed only after the completion of the new bridge’s construction. Madurai railway division manager P Anand informed that the trains to Rameswaram will stop their service at Mandapam station till the new bridge is opened.

Traffic on the Pamban Bridge was suspended from 23 December 2022 after receiving a red alert from a monitoring system installed at the bridge to surveil its health. Railway officials conducted an inspection and assessed the condition of the bridge.

The attempt to carry out repair works by imposing temporary traffic restrictions got prolonged and the move comes in wake of this. The Railways on Friday decided to completely stop traffic on the bridge.

The steel bridge was built in 1914 by the British government, connecting Rameswaram Island and the mainland. Tourists still marvel at the 2.065-kilometre-long railway bridge.

The 1964 Rameswaram cyclone, which destroyed Dhanushkodi, washed down the Pamban bridge. A passenger train was swept away during the cyclone leading to the death of 115 people.

According to Southern Railways, the bridge was getting heavily corroded and was being repaired regularly by the department. The construction of the new bridge began after repair works became impossible. The construction of the new bridge is expected to be completed by July.
The new bridge, according to the department, will be 3 metres higher than the existing bridge. This will be India’s first “vertical lift” railway sea bridge, the Railways noted.

Once the new bridge is opened, one portion of the old Pamban Bridge will be displayed as a historical monument. Meanwhile, the railway department has also started the process to rebuild the Rameswaram-Dhanushkodi line and the railway station that was destroyed in the cyclone. For this, Rs 385 crore has been earmarked in the new railway budget.

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